Final Notice and Public Explanation of a Proposed Activity in a Wetland To: All interested …

Final Notice and Public Explanation of a Proposed Activity in a Wetland To: All interested Government Agencies, Groups and Individuals This is to give notice that the City of Virginia Beach Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation (Responsible Entity) under Part 50 has conducted an evaluation as required by Executive Order 11990, in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR 55.20 Subpart C Procedures for Making Determinations on Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands. The activity is funded under Multi-Family House Program Section 221(d)(4). The Proposed Price Street Apartments is located at 2000 Price Street and is comprised of an approximately 11-acre parcel of vacant industrial land designated by GPIN# 14679257520000, Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Subject Property is the proposed location of 264-unit rental complex and clubhouse, associated infrastructure, installation of utilities, and public easements. A wetland delineation performed by MAP Environmental Inc. (MAP), on June 15, 2017, identified two wetland areas on the Subject Property. The two wetland features are located along the western and eastern boundaries of the Subject Property respectively. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) issued a preliminary Jurisdictional Determination (NAO-2017-01175) on August 15, 2017 that confirms wetlands are present on the site and further describes the feature as Cowardin classification system Palustrine forested and/or Palustrine shrub PFO/PSS (totaling 0.73 acres). The wetlands on the Subject Property were surveyed in the design phase of the Price Street project. A Joint Permit Application (JPA) was filed by MAP on behalf of The Franklin Johnston Group on September 26, 2017. The JPA, as provided by MAP, indicates that there are actually 0.53 acres of wetland within the project limits. Wetland feature and proposes to impact 0.45 acres of these wetlands for the construction or roadway, parking areas, public easements, and associated infrastructure. As proposed, impacts to wetland one (1) include filling, excavation, and mechanical clearing of 0.26 acres of PFO/PSS wetland along the western boundary of the Subject Property to provide sufficient road and parking area to service buildings 3, 4, and 5 and also provide emergency service access along the western portion of the Subject Property. Impacts to wetland two (2) include filling, excavation, and mechanical clearing of 0.19 acres of PFO/PSS wetland along the eastern boundary of the Subject Property to provide: utility access, parking areas, a public access easement and for an emergency service two-lane access road into the Subject Property. MAP indicates that mitigation will be purchased off-site in the form of 0.90 credits from the Great Dismal Swamp Restoration Bank, Lewis Farm Bank. HUD has considered the following alternatives and mitigation measures to be taken to minimize adverse impacts and to restore and preserve natural beneficial values: (i) According to a Market Study prepared by the Real Property Research Group dated February 8, 2017, the Subject Property is located in an area with significant benefits to lower income families. Additionally, the visibility of the Subject Property along I-264, as well as its close proximity to Virginia Beach Boulevard and Town Center, makes the subject property ideal for the proposed development. This property is strategically located in the Central Village District near Virginia Beach Town Center and would provide a robust residential support network to existing community based facilities and services. The site was rezoned from I-1 (Light Industrial District) to Conditional A-36 (Apartment District) on November 15, 2016 and is currently in compliance with the local zoning to accommodate the proposed 264-unit rental complex. As described, the proposed development would provide new employment opportunities, development of vacant land with long term sustainability, additional revenues for local businesses along with additional tax revenue for the township; and most importantly, a safe and desirable housing community for lower income citizens of Virginia Beach, Virginia. (ii) Alternatives were investigated for the proposed development that included evaluating alternative locations and the "no action" alternative. It was determined that the potential alternative locations were not compatible in terms of zoning designation required for the proposed development, accessibility and/or surrounding land use, the presence of on-site floodplains, and/or the potential to impact wetland areas remained. The no action alternative is also impracticable because it will not satisfy the need to provide affordable housing. (iii) To comply with the Executive Order, the Developer has entered into consultation with registered engineers and wetland consultants who have prepared development plans that minimize the effects of the impacts to that wetland areas located on the Subject Property. The proposed impact will require the excavation, mechanical clearing, and filling of approximately 0.45 acres of a regulated wetlands. The result of the impact will be sufficient access roads to service buildings, emergency service access, parking areas, and public access easements to the proposed Price Street Apartments. Erosion and sediment control measures will be conducted in accordance with all applicable regulations to ensure the protection of the existing wetlands that will not be impacted during construction. Compensatory mitigation, in the form of 0.90 wetland mitigation credits, will be purchased from the Great Dismal Swamp Restoration Bank, Lewis Farm Bank, to account for the 0.45 acres of wetlands that will be impacted. HUD has reevaluated the alternatives to building in the wetland and has determined that it has no practicable alternative. Environmental files that document the compliance with steps 3 through 6 of Executive Order 11990, are available for public inspection, review, and copying upon request at the times and location delineated in the last paragraph of this notice of receipt for comments. There are three primary purposes for this notice. First, people who may be affected by activities in wetlands and those who have an interest in the protection of the natural environment should be given an opportunity to express their concerns and provide information about these areas. Commenters are encouraged to offer alternative sites outside of the wetland, alternative methods to serve the same project purpose, and methods to minimize and mitigate impacts. Second, an adequate public notice program can be an important public education tool. The dissemination of information and request for public comment about wetlands can facilitate and enhance Federal efforts to reduce the risks and impacts associated with the occupancy and modification of these special areas. Third, as a matter of fairness, when the Federal government determines it will participate in actions taking place in wetlands, it must inform those who may be put at greater or continued risk. Written comment must be received by the Responsible Entity no later than seven (7) calendar days from the date of this notice. They should be addressed to: Cindy M. Walters, Development Officer City of Virginia Beach Department of Housing & Neighborhood Preservation 2408 Courthouse Drive Bldg. 21, Rm. 144 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456 (757) 385-5754 A full description of the project may be reviewed at the address above. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Comments may also be submitted via email at Date: January 14, 2018 VP 25590549A

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The Virginian-Pilot
Published - The Virginian-Pilot : 01/14/2018