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: Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co.
Mr. Scott Bullock
1140 N. Williamson Blvd., Suite 140
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Tomoka River Hydrologic Basin (10-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (0308020102). This project is located north of LPGA Blvd. and east of I-95 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The project is further located in Section 4, Township 15 South, Range 32 East, Volusia County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-95 take LPGA Blvd. east to the intersection with Technology Blvd., turn north and follow Technology Blvd to the west, the site is to the north on the left.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Commercial development.
Overall: Construct a commercial development in the LPGA/I-95 area of Volusia County, Florida.
PROJECT HISTORY: A previous application was received in April 2018, and a public notice was published on July 2, 2018. During the permit review process, several changes to the plan were discussed, including historical wetland impacts. The historical impacts were defined, and the applicant withdrew the application to revise the site plan and scope. During planning discussions and meetings with Volusia County and the City of Daytona Beach, certain requests from those other entities required the site plan to change to afford the construction of the roadway to connect to Williamson Blvd. as well as allow for other potential users of the property (VA Hospital), which would require encompassing more land and additional wetland impacts. A revised application and site plan have been submitted and are the focus of this notice.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: This parcel has been in silviculture and hay production for several years. The site has been altered by the ongoing agricultural activities. There are primarily three remaining wetland systems that are a mix of pine and cypress. These systems have a mature canopy and understory with what appears to be an altered hydrology. The uplands are primarily hay fields. The following provides a brief description of the land use types/vegetative communities identified on the site based on the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, Level III (FLUCCS, FDOT, 1999):
215 – Field Crop
The majority of the uplands on the site consist of maintained pastures utilized for hay production and are most consistent with the Field Crop (215) FLUCFCS classification. Vegetative species identified within this community type include bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum), bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon), broomsedge (Andropogon spp.), common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), saltbush (Atriplex canescens), flat-top goldenrod (Euthamia caroliniana) and various grass species associated with Florida hay production.
621 – Cypress
There are two (2) small cypress wetlands located on the western and northern portion of the site. Both systems have a disturbed edge due to agricultural practices. Vegetation observed within this community type includes bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), swamp bay (Persea palustris), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), duck potato (Saginttaria latifolia), roadgrass (Eleocharis baldwinii), Chapman’s beaksedge (Rhynchospora chapmanii), tenangle pipewort (Eriocaulon decanfulare), Cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), bog button (Lachnocaulon anceps), red root (Lachnanthes caroliana,) and poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).
625 – Hydric Pine Flatwoods
On the southwest boundary of the site are systems most consistent with the Hydric Pine Flatwoods (625) FLUCFCS classification. Vegetation observed within this community type includes slash pine (Pinus elliottii), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), swamp bay (Persea palustris), fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), velvet witch grass (Dichanthelium scoparium), coastalplain St. John’s wort (Hypericum brachyphyllum), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), Virginia chainfern (Woodwardia virginica), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), maidencane (Panicum hemitomon), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), and red root (Lachnanthes caroliana,).
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 58.03 acres of waters of the U.S. (WOUS) of which 45.44 acres are wetlands (23.86 acres – historic impact, 21.58 acres – proposed impact) and 12.59 acres are surface waters; for the construction of the commercial development and institutional development. This includes infrastructure, buildings, parking, and stormwater management.
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 applicant) has avoided and minimized wetland impacts to the greatest extent possible. Due to the placement of wetlands and the proposed site plan, wetland impacts to all wetlands onsite are required to develop the project. Several design configurations were evaluated during the planning of the proposed development. Previous site plans explored the possibilities of re-locating stormwater ponds. However, it was determined that the current site plan was the only feasible plan that provides the applicant with a financially viable project.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“Mitigation to offset the functional losses incurred via the project’s 20.41 acres of direct wetland impacts and 1.39 acres of secondary impacts consists of the purchase of 13.06 federal mitigation credits from the Farmton Mitigation Bank.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: In response to the previously issued public notice (July 2018), the Corps received a letter of concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) indicating they concurred with the findings of the April 2018 Cultural Resource Assessment Survey (CRAS) conducted by Archaeological Consultants, Inc. (ACI). The survey indicated that no cultural resources within the area of potential effect (APR) were encountered during the investigation. The results of the CRAS and SHPO letter will be coordinated and a specific effect determination will be coordinated with SHPO by the Corps.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect, the wood stork (Mycteria americana) and Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi).
The proposed activity is not within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of a wood stork rookery; the project supports marginally Suitable Foraging Habitat (SFH) for wood stork. Based on the Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida (dated September 2008), the Corps’ determination sequence was A>B>C>D>E = “may affect but is not likely to adversely affect”. The determination is supported by SFH compensation provided within the service area of a mitigation bank, and provides an amount of habitat and foraging function equivalent to that of impacted SFH; and is not contrary to the Service’s “Habitat Management Guidelines for the Wood Stork in the Southeast Region”. No further consultation is required.
Based on the Eastern Indigo Snake Effect Determination Key (dated January 25, 2010; August 13, 2013 Addendum), the Corps determination sequence resulted in A>B>C = “may affect but is not likely to adversely affect”. This determination is based on the project not being located in open water, the applicant adhering to the “Standard Protection Measures for the Eastern Indigo Snake” (dated August 12, 2013) and the absence of gopher tortoise burrows, holes, and refugia within the work area where a snake could be buried or trapped and injured during project activities. No further consultation is required.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat.
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 have no impact on EFH. 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 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 through the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, FL 32926 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, John Palmer, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, FL 32926, by electronic mail at John.Palmer@usace.army.mil, by fax at (321) 504-3803, or by telephone at (321) 504-3771, extension 10.
IMPACT ON NATURAL RESOURCES: Preliminary review of this application indicates that an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. 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. By means of this notice, we are soliciting comments on the potential effects of the project on threatened or endangered species or their habitat
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 of 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act 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.