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: YTG Palm Beach IL NR LP
Attn: Mr. Jeb Brees
3350 Riverwood Parkway SE, Suite 750
Atlanta, GA 30339-3392
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with an additional 0.4 acres of palustrine wetlands. The project site is located within Palm Beach Park of Commerce, north of the Beeline Highway and east of Pratt Whitney Road, Sections 17, 18, and 19, Township 41 south, Range 41 east, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take Interstate 95 to Exit 87B for Indiantown Road West. Travel west on Indiantown Road for approximately 9 miles and make a left onto State Highway 711. Travel 2.3 miles and turn left onto Corporate Road North. Travel 0.8 miles and turn right onto Park of Commerce Road. Destination will be on the right in 0.4 miles.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude: 26.899137 °
Longitude: -80.257789 °
Basic: Commercial Development
Overall: The overall project purpose is commercial development in northwestern Palm Beach County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site consists of 540.9 acres of partially undeveloped land, which includes the 5 acre proposed expansion, consisting of 44.2 acres of freshwater marsh and wet prairie wetlands, 5.8 acres of ditches, and 490.9 acres of uplands. The site was previously permitted in 1990, 2008, and 2016 for identical development. The existing permit authorized impacts to 43.8 acres of wetlands and 8.5 acres of ditches and required creation of 86 acres of emergent wetland and preservation of 133 acres of existing wetlands. The on-site wetland mitigation was completed while portions of the wetland fill has not occurred. The wetland system within the area proposed for expansion consists of a palustrine forested wetland with a canopy of Melaleuca quinquenervia and an understory of Cocoa Plum (Chrysobalanus icaco), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), torpedo grass (Panicum repens), and white top sedge (Dichormena latifolia). The existing area surrounding the project area consists of proposed and existing commercial development.
PROJECT HISTORY: The Corps’ permit issued in 1983 authorized fill and excavation in 88 acres of wetlands, and required creation of 86 acres of wetlands and preservation of 133 acres of wetlands (219 mitigation acres total). The permit issued in 1991 (for fill of 45.3 acres of wetland and creation of 43.3 acres of wetland) was to allow continuation of the work previously authorized in 1983, which was only partially completed. However, the work again was not completed prior to the permit expiration in 1996. The permit issued on May 17, 1997 authorized fill in 45.3 acres of wetland and required 43.3 acres of enhancement; but expired in 2002. The permit was re-issued in 2008 (for fill of 26.93 acres of wetland) which authorized continuation of the previously authorized impacts. However, it was verified at that time that the entirety of the original mitigation plan (219 acres) had been completed. The 2008 permit expired in 2013 without any of the remaining impact work having been completed. The property changed owners in 2014 and an application was submitted in 2015 requesting to complete the remaining development. During the review of existing conditions for the 2015 application, it was discovered that some of the previously permitted areas (that were reported in the 1991 permit as being “already completed”) had reverted back to wetlands. These areas were included in the 2015 delineation as well as 5.8 acres of ditches, which explains why the acreage of impact has increased with the 2015 application. A permit was issued December 20, 2016, which authorized the placement of 280,000 cubic yards of fill within 43.8 acres of wetlands and 5.8 acres of ditches for commercial development. The applicant would continue to preserve 219 acres of onsite wetlands. The applicant is requesting a modification to the 2016 permit to expand the proposed project area by 5 acres and adding an addition of 0.4 acres of wetland impacts.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to modify the existing December 20, 2016 permit by expanding the footprint of the project by 5 acres, including the excavation of 0.4 acres of wetlands to construct a stormwater retention area. All excavated material will be retained on site for project activities. Additionally, the applicant requests to extend the expiration date of the permit by 5 years.
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 impacts cannot be avoided due to the need for retention in the southeast portion of the property and regrading for drainage purposes. Best management practices and erosion control devices, such as silt fencing will be used during construction.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation statement describing the proposed mitigation to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The applicant proposes to utilize credits remaining from prior on-site mitigation associated with prior Corps permits in the Park of Commerce. These credits are identified and most recently quantified in Permit No. SAJ-1990-04691 issued in 2016 to the same applicant – YTG Palm Beach.”
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is aware of historic property/properties within or in close proximity of the permit area. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as applicable pursuant to 33 CFR 325, Appendix C and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, by separate letter.
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 Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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. No EFH is located within or areas affected by the project. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the South Atlantic Region.
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 Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410 within 30 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, Jerilyn Ashworth, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410; by electronic mail at Jerilyn.Ashworth@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (561)626-6971; or, by telephone at (561)472-3516.
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.