CENAO-WR-R NAO-2019-01977

Published March 19, 2020
Expiration date: 4/20/2020

March 19, 2020

The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:

City of Hampton
c/o Mr. Philippe Fenouil
22 Lincoln Street, 4th Floor
Hampton, VA  23669

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The project area consists of an approximately 0.8-mile corridor that extends from the intersection of Coliseum Drive and Butler Farm Road, northwestward to the intersection of Magruder Boulevard and North Campus Parkway in Hampton, Virginia.  Waters of the U.S. within the project area mostly drain to Tide Mill Creek, a tributary to the Southwest Branch of the Back River.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to construct a new 0.8-mile, four-lane facility extension of Coliseum Drive from its current terminus at Butler Farm Road (Coliseum Drive Phase A), north to a new intersection with Magruder Boulevard and North Campus Parkway in order to provide a continuous four-lane direct connection between Hampton Roads Center North business park and Coliseum Central activity center.  The proposed right-of-way (R/W) for Phase B would vary but would generally be up to 135 feet wide.  The constructed roadway will include two lanes traveling northbound and southbound, a shared-use path, and a median between northbound and southbound lanes.  A round-about is proposed at the roadway’s intersection with Nettles Lane.  The purpose of this project is to provide an alternative transportation link between the activity center of Coliseum Central and the business center of Hampton Roads Center North Campus to accommodate local transportation needs and help sustain economic growth and development, as well as providing pedestrian and bicycle accommodations between the two activity and business centers.

The project would result in the permanent loss of 7.35 acres of forested non-tidal wetlands due to result from the construction of the roadway to include clearing, grading, drainage and earthwork. The project would result in the temporary loss of 2.39 acres of forested non-tidal wetlands due to the need for a 20-foot-wide temporary construction easement necessary for erosion and sediment controls, and construction equipment access.

Off site and onsite alternatives to the proposed project are discussed in the attached Environmental Support Document.

The applicant provided the following information explaining how project impacts to waters of the U.S. were avoided and minimized:

As part of the on-site alternatives analysis, the first step at realigning the proposed roadway was to modify the initial horizontal alignment after field reconnaissance identified sensitive, privately-owned farm lands, a potentially historic resource, and higher quality wetlands than the surrounding wetland features within the project area. Geometric refinements were made to avoid each of these elements, and a new horizontal alignment was designed for further avoidance and minimization analysis.

Since the project area is largely occupied by forested wetlands, it was not possible to entirely avoid impacts to wetlands while still meeting the logical termini and purpose and need of the project. Therefore, options to minimize the impacts to wetlands were investigated. Items that affected the type and character of the facility, to include shoulder versus curb and gutter, and divided versus undivided. In addition to not providing a consistent roadway character with the rest of the corridor, the investigation revealed either a compromise in vehicular safety or a lack in reduction to wetland impacts. Therefore, the avoidance and minimization analysis continued with the design of a curb and gutter, divided roadway facility.

The next step in the minimization analysis was to carefully analyze each component of our roadway typical section to understand where the width could potentially be reduced while still meeting VDOT and AASHTO standards. Alternatives 4A through 4E were developed to illustrate and compare the effects that various changes in the typical section components had on environmental impacts, the purpose and need, and cost….Compared to the initial alignment and typical section, the avoidance and minimization measures resulted in a reduction of 0.8 acres in wetland impacts in addition to avoiding the higher quality wetlands.

The applicant proposes to purchase a total of 14.70 compensatory mitigation credits (2:1 compensation ratio) as compensatory mitigation for permanent non-tidal wetland impacts. The required wetland credits would be purchased from an agency-approved wetland mitigation bank or from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund if no wetland bank credits are available within the service area where the wetland impacts will occur.

In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  Per letter dated February 28, 2020, the Hampton Wetlands Board determined that no permit from them is required for this project.  Project drawings are attached.

AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION:  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.  The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefits which reasonably may be expected from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All of the proposal's relevant factors will be considered, including conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.  The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act). 

The Corps of Engineers 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 direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed activity.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the District Commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing.  The District Commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.

The Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) is the lead federal agency for this project, and is responsible for all required coordination under the National Historic Preservation Act and under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884, as amended).  Preliminary review indicates that:  (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) coordination on behalf of the FHWA indicates no federally listed/proposed/candidate species or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884), as amended) will be affected; and (3) coordination on behalf of the FHWA indicates no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places would likely be affected by the proposal.  Additional information might change any of these findings. 

For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Tidewater, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VCP) and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR).  We have not received a certification from the applicant prior to publication of this public notice.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the Office of Environmental Impact Review for concurrence or objection and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/EnvironmentalImpactReview/FederalConsistencyReviews.aspx#cert .  For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the VCP, contact the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review at (804) 698-4330 or e-mail: bettina.sullivan@deq.virginia.gov or john.fisher@deq.virginia.gov.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to david.a.knepper@usace.army.mil or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on April 20, 2020.

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY:  Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.

If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, contact Mr. David Knepper at (757) 201-7488 or david.a.knepper@usace.army.mil.

Attachment: Drawings