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Florida - This includes all public notices for projects being reviewed for Standard Permits within the State of Florida.

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SAJ-2019-02709 (SP-BJC)

Published Dec. 14, 2020
Expiration date: 1/4/2021

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:  Benderson Development Company, LLC
                       Attn: Mr. Stephen Scalione
                       7978 Cooper Creek Boulevard, Suite 100
                       University Park, Florida 34201

WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States associated with the Nassau River. The project site is located near 350 Pecan Park Road, in Section 40, Township 0 South, Range 0 East, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

Directions to the site are as follows: From Interstate-95 take Exit 366 and head east on Pecan Park Road. Proceed for a 0.10-mile and the project site is located on the left side of Pecan Park Road.

APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES:  Latitude 30.525255°
                                                                          Longitude -81.633293°

PROJECT PURPOSE:

Basic: The basic project purpose is commercial development.

Overall: The overall project purpose is to construct a commercial development (industrial warehouse) within a 0.5-mile of direct access to Interstate-95 in Duval County, Florida.

EXISTING CONDITIONS: The project site encompasses land-use categories/vegetative communities categorized by the Florida Land Use, Cover, and
Forms Classification System (FLUCFCS).

a. Uplands – 135.53 acres

i. Upland Hardwood Forests (FLUCFCS code 434) (103.91 acres) – This land use type is located throughout the center of the Project. The canopy is dominated by slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and live oak (Quercus virginiana) with scattered laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) and an understory of saw palmetto (Sabal palmetto).

ii. Coniferous Plantations (FLUCFCS code 441) (31.62 acres) – This land use type is located in the northern and southern quarters of the Project. The canopy is dominated by planted slash pine with an understory of gallberry (Ilex glabra).

b. Wetlands – 51.79 acres

i. Streams and Waterways (FLUCFCS code 510) (0.87 ac.) – This land use type is located in several areas of the project area and all appear to be manmade drainage ditches. Little to no vegetation is present within these systems. Wetlands that fall under this category include:

ii. Reservoirs (FLUCFCS code 530) (22.96 ac.) – This land use type is in the southern half of the Project and consists of a man-made reservoir. Historic aerials were downloaded of the site to determine the history of the system. This system was not constructed in the 1960 aerials but is clearly visible in the 1969 aerial. These historic aerials also suggest that most of this system was constructed in uplands. This system has little vegetation associated with it. There are some minor areas of a littoral shelf that has vegetation consisting of bulltongue (Sagittaria lancifolia), pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), and many flower marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata).

iii. Mixed Hardwood Forest (FLUCFCS code 617) (27.55 ac.) – This land use type is in four areas within the Project. The canopies are dominated by red maple (Acer rubrum), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), cypress (Taxodium ascendens), and laurel oak with an understory of St. John’s wort (Hypericum sp.), yellow hatpins (Syngonanthus flavidulus) and other herbaceous wetland species.

iv. Freshwater Marsh (FLUCFCS code 641) (0.41 ac.) – This land use type is in the southwestern corner of the Project and consists of a single, isolated wetland. Dominant vegetation consists of bulltongue, pickerelweed, Carolina redroot, and many flower marsh pennywort.

PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to discharge clean-fill material in 24.11 acres of freshwater-forested wetlands to facilitate the construction of a 192.32-acre industrial warehouse, stormwater retention pond, and associated infrastructure.

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:

“Prior to the start of construction, turbidity curtains will be deployed to isolate the construction site from ambient waters. These will remain in place until all construction induced turbidity has subsided and water quality has returned to pre-construction conditions. Of the 24.11-acres of jurisdictional forested wetlands, all 24.11-acres are proposed for impact. The wetlands proposed for impact are of low to moderate quality due to the construction of I-95 along the eastern side of the property and disturbance from historic timbering of the site. Since wetland impacts are to moderate quality wetland systems, the mitigation site will provide a higher quality forested system. Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be utilized to ensure that off-site wetlands are not affected by construction activities associated with this project. Likewise, additional impacts to the environment outside the construction area are not anticipated since BMP measures (silt fences, staked turbidity barriers, floating turbidity barriers) will be implemented for the project.”

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:

“Mitigation to offset wetland functional loss (WRAP scores) incurred by the Project’s direct wetland impacts will consist of the purchase of federal credits from the Longleaf Mitigation Bank.”

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 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 Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) and the Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife concurrence with this determination pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

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. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries in the Nassau River. 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.

SECTION 408: The applicant will not require permission under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (33 USC 408) because the activity, in whole or in part, would not alter, occupy, or use a Corps Civil Works project.

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.

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 or COMMENTS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Mr. Brad Carey, by electronic mail at brad.j.carey@usace.army.mil; or, by telephone at (904) 232-2405 within 21 days of date of the public notice.

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.