TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received an application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) as described below:
APPLICANT: Improvement Network Development Partners, LLC
650 California Street, 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Manatee River. The project site is located at the intersection of Tamiami Trail and 7th Street East (at the Bradenton Area Convention Center), in Section 13, Township 34 South, Range 17 East, Palmetto, Manatee County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-75 in Ellenton, take exit 224 (Hwy 301). Head west on 301/41 (10th Street East) for about 3.5 miles. Turn left (south) on Tamiami Trail, travel 0.25 mile and turn left on 7th Street East. Project site is on left and right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Overall: Construct a hotel and additional parking area for the Bradenton Area Convention Center.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The proposed project site includes 37.14 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the existing Bradenton Area Convention Center. The wetlands onsite include 2.27 acres of highly disturbed jurisdictional wetlands, 0.7 acre of non-jurisdictional wetlands, and 0.7 acre of non-jurisdictional ditches. The vegetation is largely Brazilian Pepper, Carolina Willows, Primrose Willow, and other nuisance species. The existing area surrounding the project site consists of the Bradenton Area Convention Center and associated parking lots as well as commercial developments.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 2.27 acres of jurisdictional wetlands, 0.7 acre of non-jurisdictional wetlands and 0.7 acre of ditches to construct a hotel and additional convention center parking lot.
AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION INFORMATION – The applicant has provided the following information in support of efforts to avoid and/or minimize impacts to the aquatic environment:
“The wetland systems cannot be avoided do to the need to maintain parking necessary
for both the Convention Center and the proposed hotel as well as necessary storm water facilities. As currently designed, the applicant is requesting permission to be below the standard City of Palmetto Land Development Code parking requirements by up to 20%. Avoidance of the wetlands would further reduce the potential parking to unacceptably low numbers which the Convention Center cannot afford to allow. The developer has instead proposed to pay into a mitigation bank to replace the low quality systems with a regionally significant system as outlined below.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The developer proposes to purchase wetland compensation credits from the Tampa Bay Mitigation Bank, which currently has adequate credits available to serve this project.”
The Corps is not aware of any known historic properties within the permit area. By copy of this public notice, the Corps is providing information for review. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts is subject to review by and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake. This determination was made using the 2013 Effect Determination Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
The Corps has determined the proposed project will have no effect on the Wood Stork. This determination was made using the 2008 Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork. Pursuant to the key, no further consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is necessary.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): This notice initiates consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service on EFH as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 1996. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. Our final determination relative to project impacts and the need for mitigation measures is subject to review by and coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
NOTE: This public notice is being issued based on information furnished by the applicant. This information has not been verified or evaluated to ensure compliance with laws and regulation governing the regulatory program. The jurisdictional line has been verified by Corps personnel.
AUTHORIZATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and/or one of the state Water Management Districts.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610 within 21 days from the date of this notice.
The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information received from this public notice and the evaluation of the probable impact to the associated wetlands. This is based on an analysis of the applicant's avoidance and minimization efforts for the project, as well as the compensatory mitigation proposed.
QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Candice Wheelahan, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610; by electronic mail at Candice.M.Wheelahan@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7064.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Services, and other Federal, State, and local agencies, environmental groups, and concerned citizens generally yields pertinent environmental information that is instrumental in determining the impact the proposed action will have on the natural resources of the area.
EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including cumulative impacts thereof; among these are conservation, economics, esthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historical properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food, and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and in general, the needs and welfare of the people. Evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will also include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, EPA, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act or the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other Interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this determination, comments are used to assess impacts to endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan. In Puerto Rico, a Coastal Zone Management Consistency Concurrence is required from the Puerto Rico Planning Board. In the Virgin Islands, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources permit constitutes compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Plan.
REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the designated comment period of the notice and must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing.