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: Coral Springs Development, LLC
2500 North Military Trail Suite 235
Boca Raton, FL 33431
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with 5.75 acres of freshwater palustrine wetlands and 0.91 acres of non-wetlands waters, associated within two vacant parcels located east of the Sawgrass Expressway and north of Wiles Road (PID: 484107110010 and 484107030010), Section 7, Township 48 South, Range 41 East, Corals Springs, Broward County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: Take Interstate 95 to exit 41 for the Sawgrass Expressway/FL-869, turn right onto SW 10th Street. Travel 2.6 miles and continue onto FL-869 South. Continue for 7 miles and take exit 14 for Coral Ridge Drive. Travel 1.2 miles on Coral Ridge Drive and turn right onto Wiles Road. The project will be located on the north side of Wiles Drive.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: Multi-family residential
Overall: To provide multi-family residential housing to meet the existing and future market demand within Coral Springs, Broward County, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 19.0 +/- acre project area is comprised of undeveloped upland and wetland habitats, dominated by a canopy of invasive non-native vegetation interspersed by remnant red bay and colonizing oaks. The dominant invasive non-native vegetation consists of Brazilian pepper, java plum, and Australian pine. The project area includes 5.75 acres of freshwater wetlands and 0.91 acres of non-wetland waters within the Hillsboro Canal Watershed. The wetland areas contain freshwater marsh habitat containing spikerush, lanceleaf arrowhead, pickerelweed, maidencane, and Carolina willow. Non-native wetland vegetation includes Peruvian primrose willow, paragrass, and torpedo grass. Man-made excavated ditches are also present on the property and are dominated by non-native Peruvian primrose willow with native spatterdock and giant leather fern also present.
The surrounding areas are comprised of residential development to the north and west, commercial development to the east, and commercial development and a Florida Power & Light substation to the south with Wiles Road adjacent to the southern property boundary.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place 14,500 cubic yards of fill within 5.25 acres of existing wetlands and 0.61 acres of non-wetland waters to construct a multi-family residential 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 project requires compact areas of development to accommodate construction of residential townhomes and associated infrastructure. The compact development pattern allows for a more cost efficient use of the land and offers a more attainable residential product price range that this market area is lacking. While every effort was made during the site selection process to select a project site with no wetland waters, there are no such sites in the area that meet all the site selection criteria.
Given the central location of the largest wetland on site coupled with the limiting factors of the FPL easements, complete preservation of the wetlands and the provision of a buffer would essentially eliminate all developable acreage of the property. The two smaller wetlands are comprised of and surrounded by non-native vegetation, and at 0.01 +/- acre and 0.03 +/- acre they offer minimal ecological and wildlife value. Preservation of these smaller wetlands coupled with the provision of a buffer would cause significant impairment to the development of the property. All three of the wetlands are considerably degraded from their natural state and thus offer reduced value and functions for fish and wildlife.
Establishment of a 0.5 +/- acre preservation area in the northwest corner of the project site provides for all practicable avoidance of wetland waters. The man-made excavated ditches comprise the Non-Wetland Waters of the U.S. found on site. Due to the locations of the ditches along the boundaries and through the center of the site, impacting the ditches is unavoidable and will require to be filled in order to develop the site. The existing ditch along the western boundary (0.3 +/- acres) is being avoided. The ditches are isolated within the property boundaries and do not offer conveyance to other offsite waters.”
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation statement, which describes their proposed mitigation to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
“The unavoidable impacts to the Wetland Waters and Non-Wetland Waters of the U.S. will be offset through a combination of Permittee responsible mitigation as well as the purchase of mitigation credits from a federally approved offsite mitigation project if available.”
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, if applicable, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi); wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife 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.