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) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. §403) as described below:
APPLICANT: Port Richey Leased Housing Associates III, LLLP
Attn: Mr. Devon Quist
401 East Jackson Street, Suite 3300
Tampa, Fl. 33602
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States with associated wetlands adjacent to an unnamed tributary of Cross Bayou. The project site is located at Sea Forest Drive in New Port Richey, FL 34652.
Directions to the site are as follows: From I-275 take FL-589 Toll N to FL-54W in Odessa. Take exit 19 from FL-589 Toll N. Continue on FL-54 W. Drive to Sea Forest Dr.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.237841° N
Longitude -82.734403° W
Basic: To construct an affordable housing development for seniors.
Overall: Construction of an affordable senior housing development with associated stormwater management and infrastructure in New Port Richey, Florida.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The 27.9 acre project site contains three wetlands (W-1, W-2, and W-3) totaling ±8.72 acres and a single surface water (SW-1), totaling 0.08 acres. The wetlands are broken down as follows;
0.73 acres of Mangrove Swamps (0-24% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 612 E1)
0.25 acres of Mangrove Swamps (25-49% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 612 E2)
0.66 acres of Saltwater Marshes (0-24% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 642 E1)
0.09 acre Waterway
0.39 acres of Mangrove Swamps (0-24% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 612 E1)
0.08 acres of Mangrove Swamps (25-49% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 612 E2)
0.15 acres of Mangrove Swamps (50-74% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 612 E3)
0.45 acres of Hydric Pine Flatwoods (25-49% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 625 E2)
0.17 acres of Wetland Scrub (50-74% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 631 E3)
0.41 acres of Saltwater Marshes (25-49% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 642 E2).
0.46 acres of Saltwater Marshes (0-24% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 642 E1)
0.16 acres Waterway
3.06 acres of Mangrove Swamps (0-24% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 612 E1)
0.14 acres of Exotic Wetland Hardwoods (FLUCFCS 619)
0.15 acres of Mangrove Swamps (50-74% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 612 E3)
0.70 acres of Wetland Scrub (50-74% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 631 E3)
0.67 acres of Saltwater Marshes (0-24% Exotics) (FLUCFCS 642 E1)
The land-use surrounding the project area consists of urban development including single family, multi-family, and commercial development.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to impact Waters of the U.S. totaling 3.13 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and 0.09 acres of jurisdictional surface waters (FLUCFCS 510). Areas in this impact include a proposed elevated boardwalk associated with the development, stormwater management system, and residential building and amenities.
The wetland impacts include;
1. 1.18 acres of impacts to Mangrove Forests (FLUCFCS 612 E1, E2, and E3),
2. 0.45 acres of impacts to Hydric Pine Flatwoods (FLUCFCS 625 E2),
3. 0.50 acres of impacts to Wetland Scrub (FLUCFCS 631 E3), and
4. 1.03 acre of impacts to Saltwater Marshes (FLUCFCS 642 E1 and E2).
Permanent impacts resulting from a proposed boardwalk are minimal (0.02 acres) and will occur from the installation of the support piles. As the boardwalk is elevated, there are no hydrological impacts anticipated and furthermore, impacts to the vegetation community will be minimal as the vegetation will continue to exist under the footprint of the boardwalk which totals 0.22 acres in its entirety.
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 evaluated numerous site plans and has consolidated and decreased the size of the building footprint to meet the basic project purpose of affordable senior housing and through an iterative process identified alternative site plans which ultimately minimized impacts t0 jurisdictional areas. Initially, the proposed Project’s configuration (limits of disturbance) were sited over more jurisdictional areas and involved greater impacts to WOTUS. This particular footprint provided the maximum dwelling unit density and associated infrastructure but was determined to be too environmentally damaging and thus the site plan was abandoned to focus on more ecologically friendly alternatives.
Given the locations of the wetlands within the Project boundary complete avoidance has been determined to be unobtainable. The applicant has minimized the proposed impacts to jurisdictional areas by siting the main building as close to the eastern boundary (in uplands) to the maximum extent possible with regards to buffer requirements to adjacent properties. Additionally, the applicant has shifted the parking lot configuration and access roads in a manner to minimize overlap with wetland boundaries. The storm water management ponds have also been sited exclusively in uplands so as to avoid impacts to jurisdictional areas.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION – The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Mitigation for functional loss associated with unavoidable wetland impacts will be provided through the use of credits purchased from an offsite mitigation bank that is both state and federally approved, and deemed suitable based on the service area, watershed, and availability of mitigation credits. The proposed impacts are located in the Upper Coastal Drainage Watershed, and the Nature Coast Mitigation Bank is located within this watershed. The proposed impacts will require a minimum purchase of 2.25 credits comprised of 0.81 estuarine herbaceous; 0.82 estuarine forested; 0.62 and freshwater forested credits based on submitted UMAM analysis.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The Corps is evaluating the undertaking for effects to historic properties as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This public notice serves to inform the public of the proposed undertaking and invites comments including those from local, State, and Federal government Agencies with respect to historic resources. Our initial review of the Regulatory Reviewer returned negative layer queries for Cultural Resources and Historic Properties. Our final determination relative to historic resource impacts may be subject to additional coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer, those federally recognized tribes with concerns in Florida and the Permit Area, and other interested parties.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Corps has reviewed all information indicated within the Regulatory Reviewer datasbase and known species in the area. The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) and the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). The Corps will request U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concurrence with any species 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. The proposal would impact approximately 1.18 acres of mangrove swamps and 1.03 acres of saltwater marshes utilized by various life stages of fish and invertebrates. Our initial determination is that the proposed action would not have a substantial adverse impact on EFH or Federally managed fisheries. 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.
Navigation: There is no navigational issue with the proposed project. The senior residential housing development does not include any water reliance structures or activities
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.
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Jacksonville District Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Ave, Ste 120, Tampa, Fl, 33610-8300 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, Peter Romano, in writing at the Jacksonville District Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Ave, Ste 120, Tampa, Fl, 33610-8300; by electronic mail at Peter.T.Romano@usace.army.mil; by facsimile transmission at (813)769-7061; or, by telephone at (813)769-7072.
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.
Due to the nature of the resource impacts proposed coordination with the above mentioned agencies will be completed.
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.
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.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: Water Quality Certification may be required from the Southwest Florida Water Management District The project is being reviewed under SWFWMD application No. 847873.
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.