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Under the Corps' Regulatory Program, a public notice is the primary method for advising all interested parties of a proposed activity for which a permit is sought. Soliciting comments and information necessary to evaluate the probable impacts on the public interest. Public notices are also published to inform the public about new or proposed regulations, policies, guidance or permit procedures.

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SPK-2004-00707, The Ranch Project, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County, CA

Posted: 10/10/2017

Expiration date: 11/9/2017


Comments Period: October 10, 2017 – November 09, 2017

SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct The Ranch Project, which would result in permanent impacts to approximately 6.37 acres of waters of the United States and temporary impacts to approximately 0.01 acres of waters of the United States.

AUTHORITY: This application is being evaluated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.

APPLICANT: K. Hovnanian Homes, Attn: Mr. Mike Wyatt, 1375 Exposition Boulevard, Suite 102, Sacramento, CA 95815-5115

AGENT: Foothill Associates, Attn: David Bise, 590 Menlo Drive, Suite 5, Rocklin, California 95765-3724

LOCATION: The approximately 530-acre project site is located east of Sunrise Boulevard and the Folsom South Canal, and north of Jackson Road (Highway 16), Latitude 38.54732°, Longitude -121.21500°, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County, California and can be seen on the Buffalo Creek USGS Topographic Quadrangle (Figure 1).

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Background

The Ranch, also known as Jaeger Ranch, The Preserve, Sunridge 530, is a 530-acre parcel located is bound by the Sunridge Specific Plan to the north, east, and west, and by the SunCreek Specific Plan are to the south and east (Figure 2). The Ranch Project, was designated in the 1993 Sacramento County General Plan as an Urban Growth Area and is located within the Sacramento County Urban Services Boundary. Due to the rapid employment growth and intense housing demand along the U.S. Highway 50 corridor, the Sunrise Douglas Community Plan (SDCP) was initiated by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors in use 1995 in order to establish a policy framework and conceptual development plan for an estimated 6,042 acres in eastern Sacramento County (Figure 2).

Proposed Action

The Applicant proposes to develop 1,266-1,300 units, including 642 gated single-family active adult units with a club house, and 634-658 conventional single-family units. In addition, approximately 6 acres are dedicated for commercial use per the City of Rancho Cordova General Plan and approximately 5 acres is currently reserved for multi-family residential (apartments) in accordance with the City of Rancho Cordova’s Affordable Housing Plan. (Figure 3). Onsite infrastructure associated with the project will include the construction of internal and external access roads, a network of bicycle and pedestrian trails, Rancho Cordova Parkway widened to four lanes and various road improvements.

In addition to development, the proposed project will preserve approximately 198 acres in an on-site open space/wetland preserve that will be deeded to a third-party conservation entity to be maintained in perpetuity (Figure 3). The project applicant will incorporate protections for the preservation of wetland resources within the preserve, including preserve fencing, long-term funding and management of the preserve in perpetuity, and protection of the preserve from drainage and runoff generated from development areas through the construction of several proposed detention basins through the development.

The following impacts are within the project area but will be filled by the City of Rancho Cordova Improvement Project-expansion of Rancho Cordova Parkway within the project area:

1) A total of 0.002 acres of waters of the U.S. were filled as part of the expansion of Rancho Cordova Parkway (previously named Jaeger Road) under Corps Permit Number 190110021 and are not included with this project.

2) A total of 0.18 acres of waters of the U.S. are associated with the City’s extension of Rancho Cordova Parkway to Chrysanthy Boulevard and are not included with this project.

Approximately 0.03 acres of waters of the U.S. within the project area was previous permitted under Phase II road improvements for Anatolia project (ID#190110021).

Impacts to waters of the U.S are summarized by individual feature classifications, below in Table 1.

Table 1 — Jurisdictional Aquatic Resources

Classification

Previously Impacted (acres) 1

City CIP Impacts

(acres) 1

Fill

(acres)1

Preserved

(acres)1

Total

(acres)1

Depressional Seasonal Wetland

1.056

1.866

2.92

Vernal Pool

0.018

0.182

4.752

10.089

15.04

Riverine Seasonal Wetland

0.007

0.507

1.149

1.66

Riverine Seasonal Wet Swale

0.059

0.06

Intermittent Drainage

<0.001

1.533

1.54

Drainage Basin Outfall

0.303

0.30

TOTAL

0.03

0.18

6.37

14.94

21.53

1 Acreages calculated to 6 significant digits and rounded to 2 significant digits.


Approximately 20,554 cubic yards of clean fill will be placed in 6.37 acres of waters of the U.S. in order to accommodate construction of the proposed development using various types of standard construction equipment, including scrapers, bulldozers, and excavators.

Purpose and Need

Based on the available information, the overall project purpose of the Ranch Project is to construct mixed-used residential, commercial, and recreational opportunities with the City of Rancho Cordova. The applicant believes there is a continued need for mixed development (high, medium and low-density residential development, as well as public, quasi-public and commercial development) within the City of Rancho Cordova, California.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

    Environmental Setting. A total of approximately 21.53 acres of jurisdictional aquatic resources have been mapped with the project site including 2.92 acres of depressional seasonal wetlands, 15.04 acres of vernal pools, 1.66 acres of riverine seasonal wetlands, 0.06 acres of riverine seasonal wet swales, 1.54 acres of intermittent drainages, and 0.30 acres of drainage basin outfalls (Figure 4).

    The topography on the site exhibits low relief topography with elevations ranging between 180 and 220 feet mean sea level (MSL). The slopes throughout the site range from approximately zero to eight percent. Moderate rolling hills and extensive flatlands interspersed with seasonal drainage courses and wetlands typify the topography of the site. The site includes several aquatic resources including depressional seasonal wetlands, vernal pools, riverine seasonal wetlands, riverine seasonal wet swales, intermittent drainages, and a detention basin outfall.

    The hydrologic regime on the site is dominated by seasonal storm water run-off and precipitation, primarily between November and March. Water flow on the site is primarily directed from northeast to southwest by way of an intermittent drainage. The intermittent on the site is tributary to Morrison Creek, which in turn is tributary to the Sacramento River. 

     Lands to the west and north have been graded for urban development within the Sunridge Specific Plan. Currently, land to the east and south is predominantly undeveloped grassland utilized for cattle grazing and related passive agricultural activities. Land uses anticipated to the east and south by the Sunridge Specific Plan and the SunCreek Specific Plan include low, medium and high density residential development, commercial mixed uses (retail, office, and retail professional) and neighborhood parks. Other land uses located nearby include new elementary, junior and senior high schools.

    The vegetation found within the site typifies that of upland and seasonal wetland plant species found within the Great Central Valley and vicinity. Upland areas on the site are dominated by: soft brome (Bromus hordeaceus), wild oat (Avena sp.), subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum), long-beaked filaree (Erodium botrys), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), mouse-tail grass (Vulpia sp.), tarweed (Holocarpha virgata), tarplant (Centromadia fitchii), barley (Hordeum murinum ssp. leporinum), and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae).

Plant species observed occurring within the vernal pools on the site include manna grass (Glyceria sp.), vernal pool buttercup (Ranunculus bonariensis var. trisepalus), water-starwort (Callitriche sp.) coyote thistle (Eryngium vaseyi), spikerush (Eleocharis macrostachya), hedge-hyssop (Gratiola ebracteata), white-headed navarretia (Navarretia leucocephala), annual hairgrass (Deschampsia danthonioides), wooly marbles (Psilocarphus brevissimus ssp. brevissimus) Fremont’s goldfield (Lasthenia fremontii) and popcorn flower (Plagiobothrys stipitatus).

Plant species observed occurring within the depressional and riverine seasonal wetlands on the site include dock (Rumex spp.), clover (Trifolium variegatum), quaking grass (Briza minor), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), hawkbit (Leontodon taraxacoides), dove weed (Eremocarpus setigerus), Mediterranean barley (Hordeum marinum ssp. gussoneanum), annual hairgrass and smooth cat’s-ear.

     Alternatives. The applicant has not provided information concerning project alternatives. Additional information concerning project alternatives may be available from the applicant or their agent. Other alternatives may develop during the review process for this permit application. All reasonable project alternatives, in particular those which may be less damaging to the aquatic environment, will be considered.

    Mitigation. The Corps requires all applicants to consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. For all areas in which the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. The Applicant is proposing to preserve approximately 14.94 acres of wetlands within the designated onsite Preserve. Direct and indirect impacts to wetlands associated with the project are expected to be mitigated through the purchase of applicable mitigation fees under the pending South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSHCP). If the SSHCP is not approved, compensatory mitigation through a combination of onsite creation and/or the purchase of in-kind mitigation credits or the payment of in-lieu fees will be used to offset impacts at a Corps-approved mitigation bank.

OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Other authorizations and entitlements are listed by agency in Table 2 below:

Table 2 — Required Approvals

Agency

Type of Approval

Application Status

City of Rancho Cordova

General Plan Amendment, Community Plan Amendment, Rezone, Large and Small Lot Tentative Subdivision Map and Use Permit Approval Pursuant to CEQA

In-progress

Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Valley)

401 Water Quality Certification

Application in-progress

HISTORIC PROPERTIES: A Cultural Resource Assessment is currently being prepared for the Proposed Action in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: The Ranch Project may affect federally threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) and the federally endangered vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi). The Corps will initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project will not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat as defined by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Conservation measures proposed by the project include storm water Best Management Practices to ensure water quality is not degraded.

The above determinations are based on information provided by the applicant and our preliminary review.

EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the described activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the described activity, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the described activity will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic 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, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The activity's impact on the public interest will include application of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 230).

The 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 decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and 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.

SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2004-00707 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before November 09, 2017.

Mr. Peck Ha, Senior Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, CA 95814
Email: Peck.Ha@usace.army.mil

The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact the applicant or the Corps' project manager Peck-Leong Ha, (916) 557-6617, Peck.Ha@usace.army.mil.

Attachments:

Figure 1. Project Site and Vicinity
Figure 2. Project Location within the Sunrise Douglas Community Plan Area
Figure 3. Proposed Project
Figure 4. Aquatic Resources Map