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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: CBC Seneca Corporation
c/o Joseph Creamer
4225 NW 24th Terrace
Boca Raton, FL 33431
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with 1.55 acres of freshwater herbaceous jurisdictional wetlands. The project site is located at Parcel Control Number 00-42-46-20-01-000-0142, in Section 20, Township 46 South, Range 42 East, in Delray Beach, within Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Exit I-95 at Exit 52 FL- 806 (West Atlantic Avenue, head west for 6.2 miles, make a U-turn at Lyons Road and the parcel will be located on the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic purpose of this project is to provide commercial retail space.
Overall: The overall purpose of this project is to provide a commercial retail center in western Delray Beach within Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 4.71 acre site has a total of 1.14 acres of herbaceous wetlands (onsite) that are part of a contiguous wetland with the adjacent parcel. The onsite wetland consists of 1.14 acres while 0.41 acre is offsite for a total of 1.55 acres; which will be directly impacted by the proposed activities. The 0.41 acres of the wetlands that fall offsite will be entirely mitigated since there will be no remaining functional value to the fragmented wetland. The E-3 Canal, is located on the north side of the parcel and is adjacent to West Atlantic Avenue; the parcels located on to the east, south and west of the project area are vacant lots.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 1.14 acres of jurisdictional freshwater herbaceous wetlands for the construction of a commercial retail space and attenuating structures. Secondary impacts to 0.41 acres of the contiguous wetland system is anticipated and will be compensated for with mitigated efforts.
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: “Due to the location of the wetland across most of the northern half of the property, complete elimination of wetland impacts is not feasible. Access to the site is limited to an entry point off of Atlantic Avenue along the northern property line. In addition, the potentially contaminated wetland is providing limited functional value due to the predominance of invasive vegetation and the commercial land uses surrounding the site. As a result the total 1.55 acres of wetlands will be impacted. Due to the small, disrupted nature of the remaining offsite portion of the property, full mitigation will be provided for this area as well. Similarly to the reasoning for mitigation for offsite impacts, any reduction in wetland impacts onsite will result in a fragmented area with little to no functional value remaining.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment: The applicant has proposed to mitigate for unavoidable direct impacts associated with project development by purchasing credits from the Loxahatchee Mitigation Bank in Palm Beach County.
The Corps has determined that at least half of the project footprint is wetland, and historic aerials indicate that the project area has been subjected to heavy disturbances and fill episodes. This combination of factors indicate little likelihood for the presence of intact archaeological resources. One documented historic resource group, the E-3 Canal (8PB07705), lies adjacent to the project area on the north side. This resource has been determined ineligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Therefore the project has no potential to effect historic properties. 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 if applicable, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
The Corps has determined the proposed project will have no effect on the Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) and the Everglade snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus), as the site does not contain suitable habitat for this species and it is not designated critical habitat for this species.
The Corps has determined the proposed project is “Not Likely to Adversely Affect” the wood stork (Mycteria americana). The proposed activity is within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of two (2) wood stork colonies; the project supports marginally Suitable Foraging Habitat (SFH) for wood stork. Based on the Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in South Florida (dated May 18, 2010), the Corps determination sequence was A>B>C>E=NLAA. The project provides SFH compensation in accordance with the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) guidelines and is not contrary to the habitat management guidelines. SFH compensation within the Core Foraging Area provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of impacted SFH; is not contrary to the Service’s Habitat Management Guidelines for The Wood Stork in the Southeast Regions and is in accordance with the CWA section 404(b)(1) guidelines.
The Corps has determined the proposed project is “Not Likely to Adversely Affect” Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Effect Determination Key (dated August 1, 2017), the Corps determination sequence resulted in A>B>C>D>E=NLAA. Holes, cavities, and snake refugia will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and if occupied by an indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work; the permittee agrees to use the Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake (dated August 12, 2013).
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Ste 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 within 15 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, Kelly Egan, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Ste 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at Kelly.Egan@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (561) 472-3514.
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.