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: Cornerstone at Narcoossee, LLC
PO Box 568821
Orlando, FL 32856
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: The project would affect waters of the United States (WOTUS) associated with East Lake Tohopekaliga (12-digit HUC 030901010104). The project site is located at the intersection of N. Narcoossee Road and Cyrils Drive, within the southeast quadrant of the intersection, in Sections 04 and 09, Township 25 South, Range 31 East, Osceola County, Florida.
Directions to the site are as follows: The site is located at the intersection of N. Narcoossee Road and Cyrils Drive, within the southeast quadrant of the intersection.
APPROXIMATE CENTRAL COORDINATES: Latitude 28.333860°
Basic: Commercial Development
Overall: Develop a commercial center with grocery retail and additional buildings for commercial leasing located along Narcoossee Road between Hwy. 192 (south) and Orange County (north), to serve the growing residential communities and population along Narcoossee Road.
EXISTING CONDITIONS: The total project area is approximately ±13 acres. The project area within which work/impacts are proposed are comprised of historically altered uplands and hydrologically altered wetlands. Uplands (±7 acres) currently consist of lightly managed pasture/rangeland with minor forested inclusions. Wetlands (4.13 acres) have been historically altered hydrologically resulting from construction (starting in the 1970’s) and subsequent periodic improvements to Cyrils Road, as well as altered through historic agricultural land use practices. On-site wetlands consist of both herbaceous and forested areas, and are characterized as low to moderate quality wetlands, with the higher-quality portions occurring along the eastern-most boundary of proposed project impacts. The existing area surrounding the project area consists of urban development (both existing and under construction) and Lake Ajay and associated floodplain wetlands.
PROPOSED WORK: The applicant seeks authorization to fill 4.13 acres of Section 404 wetlands. Impacts are necessary to develop a commercial center with grocery retail and additional buildings for commercial leasing located along Narcoossee Road between Hwy. 192 (south) and Orange County (north), to serve the growing residential communities and population along Narcoossee Road.
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 proposed design includes multiple accommodations to support the general feasibility of the project that will cause unavoidable wetland impacts. The proposed project sits on a commercially desirable corner lot totaling approximately 11 acres. In total 4.13 acres of impact will occur to the on-site wetlands located on the east half of the commercial lot where the grocery building, rear truck service drive, and stormwater pond are proposed. … The proposed wetland impacts are unavoidable in order to accommodate the standard footprint of the grocery floorplan and connected retail with an engineered stormwater pond to collect runoff from the large impervious area detailed above. … The connected retail is required for synergistic design and is central to the commercial success the project. … The location of the grocery building would not be able to shift west out of the current wetland area due to Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) trucking egress and ingress radii fitting the design of the approved widening to Cyrils Drive to the north. The first right turn-in off Cyrils Drive cannot be moved west or it is too close to the turn distance for vehicles making a right from Narcoossee Road and then entering the shopping center. As this entrance is proposed it affects the location of the wider second turn-in from Narcoossee Road which is set to a specific standard for the anticipated delivery trucks to directly access the rear of the building. … There is not an alternative design of the project that could avoid wetland impacts or minimize the impacts without a compromised layout that would be counter-intuitive to already approved and aligned access points that support critical operations of the commercial center. … The required wetland impacts are to historically altered wetland communities that do not provide high-functioning habitat. … In summary, the proposed project contains unavoidable wetland impacts totaling 4.13 acres to accommodate the larger impervious footprint associated with the intended project purpose and a reconfiguration of the parking, building layout, rear trucking area, and stormwater pond are not feasible for an approvable engineered design that will serve the local growing residents’ retail and grocery needs.
COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant has offered the following compensatory mitigation plan to offset unavoidable functional loss to the aquatic environment:
Direct and secondary impacts to wetlands were evaluated utilizing the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM). As detailed in the submitted UMAM functional assessment, the direct and secondary impacts account for a total of 2.28 UMAM units of functional loss. In order to offset these losses, 2.28 UMAM functional units/credits of functional gain will be realized with the proposed purchase of 1.53 Federal Palustrine Forested UMAM credits and 0.75 Federal Palustrine Emergent UMAM credits from Southport Ranch Mitigation Bank, which is federally approved/permitted to service the subject project area.
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 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.
Wood Stork: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA) the Wood Stork and its designated critical habitat. The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Wood Stork (January 2010). Use of the Key for Wood Stork resulted in the following sequential determination: A (Project impacts Suitable Foraging Habitat (SFH) at a location greater than 0.47 mile from a colony site) > B (Project impact to SFH is greater in scope than 0.50 acre) > C (Project impacts to SFH within the Core Foraging Area (CFA) of a colony site) > E (Project provides SFH compensation in accordance with the CWA section 404(b)(1) guidelines and is not contrary to the Habitat Management Guidelines (HMG); habitat compensation is within the appropriate CFA or within the service area of a Service-approved mitigation bank; and…) = MANLAA. The Corps has FWS concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
Eastern Indigo Snake: The Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect (MANLAA) the Eastern Indigo Snake and its designated critical habitat. The Corps completed an evaluation of the project based upon review of the FWS South Florida Ecological Services Field Offices Programmatic Concurrence for use with the Eastern Indigo Snake (August 2017). Use of the Key for the Eastern Indigo Snake (EIS) resulted in the following sequential determination: A (Project is not located in open water or salt marsh) > B (Permit will be conditioned for use of the Service's most current guidance for Standard Protection Measures For The Eastern Indigo Snake (currently 2013) during site preparation and project construction) > C (The project will impact less than 25 acres of EIS habitat) > D (The project has known holes, cavities, active or inactive gopher tortoise burrows, or other underground refugia where a snake could be buried, trapped and /or injured) > E (Any permit will be conditioned such that all gopher tortoise burrows, active or inactive, will be excavated prior to site manipulation in the vicinity of the burrow. If an EIS is encountered, the snake must be allowed to vacate the area prior to additional site manipulation in the vicinity. Any permit will also be conditioned such that holes, cavities , and snake refugia other than gopher tortoise burrows will be inspected each morning before planned site manipulation of a particular area, and, if occupied by an eastern indigo snake, no work will commence until the snake has vacated the vicinity of proposed work.) = MANLAA. The Corps has FWS concurrence for the proposed activities through the use of the aforementioned determination key.
The Corps has determined the proposal would have no effect on any other federally 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. 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.
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 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 Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, FL 32926 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, Jason D. Perryman, in writing at the Cocoa Permits Section, 400 High Point Drive, Suite 600, Cocoa, FL 32926; by electronic mail at email@example.com; or, by telephone at (321) 504-3771, ext. 0010.
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.
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 South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CONSISTENCY: In Florida, the State approval constitutes compliance with the approved 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.