Comments Period: November 29, 2016 – December 14, 2016
SUBJECT: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application to construct the Pique Apartments 2 project, which would result in impacts to approximately 24.31 acres of waters of the United States, including wetlands. This notice is to inform interested parties of the proposed activity and to solicit comments.
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: Elliott Homes, Inc.,
Attn: Mr. Price Walker,
340 Palladio Parkway, Ste. 521,
Folsom, California 95630-8775
LOCATION: The approximately 24.31-acre project site is located south of Iron Point Road, north of Highway 50, east of Serpa Way, and west of Horseshoe Glen Court, Latitude 38.64591°, Longitude -121.09977°, City of Folsom, Sacramento County, California, and can be seen on the CA-CLARKSVILLE USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The applicant proposes to construct a 213-unit apartment community consisting of two- and seven-unit buildings. Additional proposed improvements include a community clubhouse, underground utilities, on-site parking, driveways, drive aisles, retaining walls, sidewalks and walkways, fencing, entry gates, lighting, landscaping, and a trash/recycling enclosure. An existing ditch to the east would be extended to reach an existing concrete-lined ditch generally paralleling the south side of Iron Point Road. Stormwater would be collected by storm drain inlets throughout the site and retention basins located to the east of the Project. The stormwater would be directed via the storm drain system to drain outfalls to the south. Overland flows from the Project would generally flow west, to exit the site at the southwestern project site boundary. Based on the available information, the overall project purpose is to construct medium-density residential development with associated infrastructure consistent with applicable land-use requirements within the City of Folsom. The applicant believes there is a need for medium-density residential development. The attached drawings provide additional project details.
To construct the proposed project, the applicant proposes to discharge fill material into 1.44 acres of waters of the U.S., consisting of 1.23 acres of seasonal wetland swale and 0.21 acre of seasonal wetland/seeps. This would result in the loss of 1.44 acres of wetlands, and all waters of the U.S. that currently occur within the project site (see Environmental Setting, below).
Background: The proposed project site is located in an area that has been subject to three prior (and now expired) project DA authorizations, Broadstone Unit 3 (SPK #1993-00468, dated September 25, 1996, and SPK-1999-00021, dated March 9, 1999) and Empire Ranch (a.k.a. Russell Ranch) (SPK-1990-00169, dated February 9, 1995, with an after-the-fact permit modification dated August 24, 2012). Compensatory mitigation was proposed and documented as completed for these prior DA authorizations. In 2003, a large portion of the project site was mass-graded under the authority of these permits in preparation for construction. However, site construction did not proceed, and the site has remained vacant to-date.
Environmental Setting. There are approximately 1.44 acres of waters of the U.S. within the project area, consisting of 1.23 acres of seasonal wetland swale and 0.21 acre of seasonal wetland/seeps. The Corps verified a preliminary jurisdictional determination for the project site on July 11, 2016.
The proposed project site is characterized primary by hills and steep terrain sloping to the southwest. As noted above, the site was graded in 2003, and contains constructed terraces. The site is located at an elevation range of 580 to 750 feet above mean sea level. According to the Soil Survey of Sacramento County, California, one soil unit, (110) Argonaut-Auburn complex, 8 to 30 percent slopes, has been mapped within the site.
The majority of the project site is composed of ruderal annual grassland dominated by nonnative annual species. The 1.23-acre seasonal wetland swale carries runoff from the toe of U.S. Highway 50 slope in a westerly direction towards East Bidwell Road. There are no indicators of the presence of an ordinary high water mark. The swale likely supports surface flows for only short periods during significant rain events, but is largely supported by extended periods of soil saturation. The seeps mapped on-site are areas where groundwater reaches the surface and supports hydrophytic vegetation and hydric soils. They are located at the base of the terraced portion of the project site. The 0.21 acre of seasonal wetland/seeps are situated on sloped terrain, and do not appear to support standing water, but the soil may remain saturated into the summer.
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 that applicants consider and use all reasonable and practical measures to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources. If the applicant is unable to avoid or minimize all impacts, the Corps may require compensatory mitigation. To compensate for the loss of 1.44 acres of waters of the U.S., as described above, the applicant has proposed to either purchase floodplain mosaic wetland credits from the Cosumnes Floodplain Mitigation Bank (or other Corps-approved mitigation bank whose service area includes the project site), or purchase credits from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Sacramento District California In-Lieu Fee (ILF) Program. Under either the bank or ILF program option, an appropriate mitigation ratio would be required as determined by use of the Corps’ South Pacific Division Mitigation Ratio-setting checklist. \
OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORIZATIONS: Water quality certification or a waiver, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act from the Central Valley Water Resources Control Board is required for this project. The applicant has indicated they will be applying for certification.
HISTORIC PROPERTIES: Based on the available information, no cultural resources have been identified within the project's area of potential effect. The Corps will initiate consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as appropriate.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Based on available information, the proposed project would not affect any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat that are protected by the Endangered Species Act.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed project would not adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) as defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
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-2016-00137 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before December 14, 2016.
Mary Pakenham-Walsh, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
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 Mary Pakenham-Walsh, 916-557-7718, Mary.R.Pakenham-Walsh@usace.army.mil.
Attachments: 2 Drawings