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:
APPLICANTS: Park Square MF LLC.
Attn: Vishaal Gupta
5200 Vineland Road, Suite 200
Orlando, Florida 32811
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Lake Tohopekaliga. The project site is located immediately west of 101 Church Street, within Section 14 Township 25 South, Range 29 East; Kissimmee, Osceola County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Exit Florida's Turnpike onto US Highway 192 and continue east. The property is located on the north side of US Highway 192 immediately west of Valencia Community College, adjacent to the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.3063°
Basic: Mixed use development
Overall: Construct a mixed use commercial/residential development to serve the adjacent Valencia Community College and NeoCity.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 16.4 acre project area currently supports six (6) land use types/vegetative communities. These land use types/vegetative communities were identified utilizing the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, Level III (FLUCCS, FDOT, January 1999). Jurisdictional wetland communities consists of Mixed Wetland Hardwoods – 617 and Vegetated Non-Forested Wetland – 640. The wetlands comprises 7.26 acres of the site. The on-site upland land use type/vegetative communities consists of Other Shrubs and Brush – 329, Upland Hardwood Forests – 420, and Live Oak – 427 and comprises 8.34 acres of the site. The site also contains portions of the channelized Mill Slough. The outer bank of this portion of the slough is fortified with concrete rip-rap, and the stream itself lacks vegetation.
The onsite wetlands historically consisted of wet depressions within improved pastures, but the removal of cattle have allowed these areas to transition into an early successional forested community. Dominant vegetation includes laurel oak, red maple (Acer rubrum), Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum), Brazilian pepper, fox grape, elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), and swamp fern (Blechnum serrulatum). The southern portions of the wetlands contain a more open area dominated by Peruvian primrose willow (Ludwigia peruviana). The presence of scattered lantana, American beautyberry, and blackberry throughout the wetland are indicative of its long-term, drained condition.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to dredge and fill 7.26 acres of water of the United States (wetlands) for the construction of a mixed use development.
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 onsite wetlands are located within one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels of comparable size within the City of Kissimmee. They contain a substantial amount of exotic/nuisance plant species, and have been adversely affected by surrounding development, long-term drainage, and heavy, long-term use by homeless. Even with land management, the long-term viability and regional habitat value of these wetlands is considered extremely improbable and low.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: “The proposed mitigation involves the purchase of wetland credits from a regionally significant mitigation bank whose service area includes this project site.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: 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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Programmatic Effect Determination key for the Eastern Indigo Snake (dated January 25, 2010 amended August 1, 2017). Use of the Key for the eastern indigo snake resulted in the following sequential determination: A (The project is not located in open water or salt marsh) > B (Permit will be conditioned for use of the Service's most current guidance for Standard Protection Measures For The Eastern Indigo Snake (currently 2013) during site preparation and project construction) > C (The project will impact less than 25 acres of eastern indigo snake habitat) > D (The project has known holes, cavities, active or inactive tortoise burrows, or other underground refugia) > E (Any permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be excavated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If an eastern indigo snake is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will also be conditioned such that holes, cavities, and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an eastern indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work) = “not likely to adversely affect” (NLAA) for the Eastern Indigo snake. Based upon the NLAA determination for the Wood Stork no further coordination is required.
The Corps also completed an evaluation of the project based upon the May 18, 2010 South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices (SFESO) Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Wood Stork. Use of the Key for the Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A (Project impacts suitable foraging habitat more than 0.47 miles from a colony site) >B (Project impacts more than 0.5 acres of SFH) >C (Project impacts to SFH within a CFA of a colony) > D (Project impacts to SFH have been avoided and minimized and compensation is proposed in accordance with the mitigation rule) = Not Likely to Adversely Affect (NLAA). Based upon the NLAA determination for the Wood Stork no further coordination is required.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT (EFH): The proposed work would have no effect to EFH.
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 not 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 USACE, Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926 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, Andrew Phillips, in writing at the USACE, Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, Florida 32926; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (321)504-3803; or, by telephone at (321)504-3771 ex 14.
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.