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: Sandestin Investment, LLC
c/o Thomas Becnel
9300 Emerald Coast Parkway W
Miramar Beach, FL 32550
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with Choctawhatchee Bay. The project site for the development to be called Burnt Pine Villas is located on the 11.34-acre parcel immediately southwest of the intersection of Burnt Pine Lane and Preserve Lane, within Sandestin Resort, in Section 23, 02 South, 21 West, Miramar Beach, Walton County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: From US Highway 98 E in Miramar Beach, turn north onto Sandestin Boulevard N; turn east onto Heron Walk Drive; turn north onto Baytowne Avenue ; turn north on Club Road, turn east on Burnt Pine Lane, and travel 0.5 miles and the site will be on the right.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 30.399858°
Basic: Residential development.
Overall: To develop single-family lots and construct associated infrastructure within the Sandestin Resort community.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: Portions of the 2.641-acre palustrine wetland system onsite were partially cleared and filled in the 2011-2012 timeframe without Department of the Army authorization. Less-disturbed areas are dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii), sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), sweet gallberry (Ilex coriacea), bitter gallberry (Ilex glabra), and black titi (Cliftonia monophylla). Some lower-elevation areas that experience more frequent inundation have seen less recruitment of woody species, and have not transitioned back to forested systems. These areas are instead now dominated by herbaceous species including broomsedges (Andropogon spp.), ferns including Woodwardia spp. and Osmundastrum cinnamomea, hatpins (Eriocaulon spp.) and redroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana). The remainder of the parcel is upland dominated by slash pine, bitter gallberry, southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), winged sumac (Rhus copallinum) and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). The area surrounding the parcel consists of golf course, residential lots, and strands of mixed forested/shrub wetlands and uplands. A conservation easement lies along the southeast property boundary between the subject parcel and the golf course.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge fill material into 2.334 acres of Corps-jurisdictional wetlands for the construction of a 35-lot single-family residential development. The remaining 0.307-acre of onsite wetlands would be avoided and 212 linear feet of retaining wall would be constructed between filled wetlands and these remaining onsite wetlands. The project drawings show a new stormwater pond adjacent to these avoided wetlands but constructed mostly on the adjacent golf course property to the south.
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:
Proposed impacts are limited to highly disturbed and fragmented jurisdictional wetlands. Utilization of 212-linear feet of retaining wall is implemented in the siteplan where reasonable and stormwater treatment is proposed on the adjacent parcel in order to further avoid and minimize wetland impacts.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The purchase of 1.15 credits from Devil’s Swamp Mitigation Bank.
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.
The Corps has determined the proposal may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi). 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. The proposal would impact approximately 2.334 acres of palustrine wetlands hydrologically connected to tidal waters utilized by various life stages of shrimp, reef fish, red drum, and coastal migratory/pelagic fish. 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 the Corps.
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 Pensacola Permits Section, 41 N. Jefferson Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 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, Ed Sarfert, in writing at the Pensacola Permits Section, 41 N. Jefferson Street, Pensacola, FL 32502; by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by facsimile transmission at (850)433-8160; or, by telephone at (850)439-9533.
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.