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: Kovvan Properties LLC
167 Neptune Drive
Hypoluxo, FL 33462
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the M-Canal and the Loxahatchee Slough. The project site is located in Sections 23 & 26, Township 42 South, Range 41 East, Palm Beach County, Florida
Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate 95, take Exit 77 onto Northlake Boulevard, and head west 7.6 miles to Stonewall Drive. Go south through guarded entrance to end of the road at the intersection with Torreyanna Circle.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Latitude: 27° 47’ 16.49”
Longitude: -80° 13’ 24.96”
Basic: The basic project purpose is to construct a residential development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a residential development in western Palm Beach County, Florida
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project area is a total of 70.85 acres and contains 17.61 acres of freshwater wetlands, 19.58 acres of non-wetland waters, and 33.66 acres of uplands. The freshwater wetlands include several different habitat types includes exotic wetland hardwoods, mixed wetland hardwoods, and wet prairie. The on-site vegetation consists of Melaleuca (Melaleuca quiquenervia) in the exotic hardwood wetlands. Slash pine (Pinus elliotti var. densa), Melaleuca (Melaleuca quiquenervia), cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco), and wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) dominates the vegetation in the mixed hardwood wetlands. And the wet prairie community is comprised of Melaleuca saplings (Melaleuca quiquenervia), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), St. Johns wort (Hypericum fasciculatium), and yellow eyed grass (Xyris caroliana).
The existing area surrounding the project area consists of single-family residential areas and a large scale multi-phase residential development project that is currently under construction.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to place a total of 40,500 cubic yards of fill within 1.83 acres of freshwater exotic hardwood wetlands, 6.32 acres of freshwater mixed hardwood wetlands, and 0.26 acres of freshwater wet prairie wetlands
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:
A South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) permit (50-01111-S-04) was issued for the Phase I Plat III (subject property) development November 14, 2002 for the construction of 34 single family residences, roadways, and SWM system. All compensatory mitigation was incorporated into the SFWMD permit (50-01111-S-02) for Phase I Plat II including 167.67acres of on-site wetland restoration (on Phase I Plat II property) and 164.61 acres of off-site restoration at Grassy Waters Preserve (City of West Palm Beach). The project site is following the footprint of the previously approved site plan by Palm Beach County, and the issued Environmental Resource Permit from SFWMD.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The unavoidable impacts to wetlands of the U. S will be offset via the purchase of mitigation credits from a Federally approved off-site wetland mitigation bank.
Non-wetland waters of the U.S. will not be impacted as part of the proposed project.
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 those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area.
The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the threatened Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi), Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), Florida Bonneted Bat (Eumaps floridanus) and wood stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps will request U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.
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 has been provided by South Florida Water Management District-Environmental Resource Permit 50-01111-S-04.
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, FL 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, Samantha Rice, in writing at the Palm Beach Gardens Permits Section, 4400 PGA Boulevard, Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410; by electronic mail at Samantha.L.Rice@usace.army.mil or by telephone at (561) 472-3536.
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.