TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has received an application to modify Department of the Army permit SAJ-2007-02692(SP-MRE) pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. §1344) as described below:
APPLICANT: Crossjax Distribution LLC
Attn: Mr. Michael Bradley
30 Jeliff Lane
Southport, Connecticut 06890
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project affects waters of the United States (wetlands) associated with Sixmile Creek. The project site is adjacent to the intersection of Interstate 295 and Pritchard Road, at 6590 Pritchard Road (Duval County Property Appraiser Parcel Identification Number 003461-0105), in Section 36, Township 1 South, Range 25 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:
Basic: The basic project purpose is commercial development.
Overall: The overall project purpose is the reconfiguration of a previously authorized industrial warehouse facility.
(1) On March 7, 2008, the Corps issued a permit to Strong Properties, Incorporated authorizing the discharge of fill material over 3.92 acres of wetlands in association with the establishment of an industrial warehouse complex and a hotel. The Corps also previously authorized three modifications of that permit. The first modification authorized 0.33 acre of additional wetland fill and increased the amount of preservation and mitigation bank credits required for the project. The second modification reduced wetland impacts by 0.03 acre and revised the associated amount of mitigation bank credits, wetland preservation, and wetland enhancement. The third modification extended the permit expiration date to March 7, 2015. The permittee initiated work at the site and established a warehouse (identified as Building 200) and a portion of the site infrastructure. However, the permittee did not completely implement all of the authorized work prior to the expiration of the permit.
(2) On June 13, 2017, the Corps issued a permit to RPC-LA Florida Venture LLC. That permit re-authorized work at the overall site, including the discharge clean fill material over a total of 2.99 acres of wetlands. That permit expires on June 13, 2022. Strong Properties, Incorporated, retained ownership of land contiguous to Pritchard Road; and, that area is not associated with this pending permit modification. Crossjax Distribution, Incorporated, accepted the transfer of the permit for the industrial warehouse complex area; and, the area associated with the pending permit modification encompasses a portion of that site.
b. Soils: According to the Soil Survey of City of Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida (U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service, 1998), four soil types are present on the site. The soil units mapped on the site include Mascotte fine sand (map unit 38), Sapelo fine sand (map unit 63), Surrency loamy fine sand, depressional (66), and Surrency loamy fine sand, frequently flooded (map unit 67).
c. Vegetative Communities: The current project site encompasses five vegetative communities characterized by the Florida Department of Transportation Florida Land Use, Cover, and Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).
(1) Open Land (FLUCFCS Code 190): The eastern edge of the project area contains a small portion of mowed and maintained lawn associated with Building 200.
(2) Pine-Mesic Oak (FLUCFCS Code 414): Dominant species within the on-site forested uplands include live oak (Quercus virginiana), water oak (Quercus nigra), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).
(3) Streams and Lake Swamps (FLUCFCS Code 615): The on-site wetlands in the southern portion of the project area are associated with the floodplain of Sixmile Creek. Dominant species include loblolly bay, blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), bald cypress, sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), water oak, laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), and sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana). Groundcover vegetation includes fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), Virginia chainfern (Woodwardia virginica), royal fern (Osmunda regalis), saw palmetto, wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), and pipestem (Agarista populifolia).
(4) Wetland Forested Mixed (FLUCFCS Code 630): On-site wetlands in the northern portion of the site contain a mixture of hardwood and coniferous species in the canopy layer. Dominant species include slash pine (Pinus elliottii), red maple (Acer rubrum), sweetgum, black gum, sweet bay, highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), Virginia chain fern, wax myrtle, royal fern, and fetterbush.
(5) Reservoirs Less Than 10 Acres (FLUCFCS Code 534): The stormwater pond in the southeastern portion of the project area was excavated as part of the previously permitted project.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to reconfigure the structures in the current project area, which would result in the construction of one larger industrial warehouse building instead of the two buildings (identified as Buildings 300 and 400) previously permitted. The reconfiguration of the work necessitates the discharge of fill over an additional 1.49 acres of wetlands to accommodate the construction of the single, larger warehouse (identified as Building 300) and associated infrastructure. The project also includes the discharge of fill over 0.58 acre of wetlands, which the Corps previously authorized and are not incorporated into the 1.49-acre additional impact total.
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 indicates that the shared truck court (access/egress, turning, and parking area) incorporated into the permitted design reduces the level of safety associated with pedestrian movement and the operation of large trucks and associated equipment. Furthermore, the applicant submitted a financial analysis that demonstrates that the existing design decreases the economic viability of the overall project. In consideration of the site deficiencies, the applicant investigated a reconfiguration of the project design. However, any reconfiguration of the site facilities requires work affecting wetlands due to the size, location, configuration, and orientation of the onsite wetlands. As such, the applicant indicated that the total avoidance of additional work in wetlands is not practicable; and, determined that the proposed design adequately increases site safety and economic viability while minimizing the additional work affecting wetlands.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
The applicant’s ecological agent compiled and submitted a Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) quantifying and qualifying the loss of wetland functions and services associated with the elimination of an additional 1.49 acres of wetlands. The UMAM calculated that loss as 1.07 units. Therefore, the applicant would purchase 1.07 credits from a federally approved mitigation bank that is based on UMAM and has a service area encompassing the project site.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps previously evaluated the project in consideration of established procedures associated with the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP); and, determined that the project would have no effect on any sites listed, or eligible for listing, in the NRHP. Separately, the Corps twice previously received correspondence from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) indicating that work on the property was unlikely to affect historic properties. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that contravenes the previous determinations. In consideration of the information available, the Corps concludes that the project would not affect any sites listed, or eligible for listing, in the NRHP.
a. Red Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis): The project site is approximately 10 miles from the nearest identified nest or cluster location for Red Cockaded Woodpecker; and, within the consultation area identified by FWS and the Corps for this species. Therefore, Red Cockaded Woodpecker could utilize the project site. Habitat for this species typically incorporates mature pine woodlands (not wetlands); and, optimal habitat is characterized as a broad savanna with a scattered overstory of large pines and a dense groundcover containing a diversity of grass and shrub species. Nesting and roosting occur in cavity trees that are almost exclusively old, living, flat-topped pine trees. The project site does not encompass typical or optimum habitat; or, trees capable of supporting cavities. Further, as significant forested habitat is located near the project site, it is likely that this species would only opportunistically forage at the site, which the development of the site would not preclude. Therefore, the Corps has determined that the project would have no effect on this species.
b. Wood Stork: The project site is approximately 7 miles from the Jacksonville Zoo Wood Stork nesting colony and within the Core Foraging Area of that colony. Therefore, this species could utilize the project site. However, the project does not adversely affect suitable foraging habitat. In consideration of this information, the Corps utilized The Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office and State of Florida Effect Determination Key for the Wood Stork in Central and North Peninsular Florida, September 2008, to determine potential effects upon this species. Use of this key resulted in the sequence A-B-no effect.
c. The Corps executed a Resources At Risk (RAR) report. The RAR did not indicate that the site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed threatened or endangered species. The Corps also reviewed geospatial data and other available information. The Corps has not received or discovered any information that the project site is utilized by, or contains habitat critical to, any other federally listed species.
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 project would not affect marine or estuarine habitat nor any areas designated as EFH. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not affect EFH or federally managed fisheries in Sixmile Creek or any downstream system. 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 Corps twice previously verified the delineation of the onsite wetlands and the extent of Federal jurisdiction.
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 Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232 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, Mark R. Evans, in writing at the Jacksonville Permits Section, Post Office Box 4970, Jacksonville, Florida 32232; by electronic mail at email@example.com; by facsimile transmission at (904)232-1940; or, by telephone at (904)232-2028.
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.