Gelles Family Property Mixed-Use Commercial Development (Action No. SPA-2014-00524)

Published Dec. 22, 2014
Expiration date: 1/21/2015

Subject: Public Notice for the Gelles Family Property Mixed-Use Commercial Development

Action No.: SPA-2014-00524

Project Name: Gelles Family Property Mixed-Use Commercial Development

Summary: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District, (Corps) is evaluating a permit application for the Gelles Family Trust & Gale C. Gelles 2002 Revoc. Trust (Gelles Family) to construct an approximately 18-acre commercial development, including buildings, parking lots, stormwater systems, and all utilities, at the northeast corner of Black Forest Road and Woodmen Road in Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado. The project would result in permanently impacts to approximately 0.95 acre of wetlands adjacent to an unnamed Sand Creek tributary. Details of the project are provided below and in the attached maps and drawings. The purpose of this public notice is to inform interested parties of the project and to solicit comments.

Applicant: Gelles Family Trust & Gale C. Gelles 2002 Revoc. Trust, 1114 State Street, Suite 222, Santa Barbara, California 93101.

Agent: Elizabeth A. Klein, Kiowa Engineering Corp., 1604 South 21st Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904.

Location: The project is located along an unnamed tributary of Sand Creek in Section 5, T13S-R65W, El Paso County, Colorado. Latitude 38.942351º N, Longitude -104.699321º W.

Background: The 18-acre Gelles Family Property was originally authorized to be developed as part of the 725-acre Forest Meadows Development under Corps Permit No. SPA-2005-00413. The Galles Family Property was partially filled in 2006 and 2007 for the construction of Forest Meadows Road, the widening of Black Forest Road, and the construction of a temporary sediment basin in association with the widening of Woodmen Road. Some wetlands were filled in association with these infrastructure improvements, with soil stockpiles placed in upland areas, but construction was never completed on the remainder of the Gelles Family property. The original Corps permit (Permit No. SPA-2005-00413) authorized permanent impacts to a total of approximately 10.01 acres of wetlands for the 725-acre Forest Meadows Development, which included approximately 1.2 acres of wetlands on the Gelles Property. Compensatory mitigation for the 10.01 acres of permanent wetland impacts for the Forest Meadows Development was to be accounted for in Sand Creek Detention Basins 6 and 3. Work on the Gelles Family Property was abandoned in 2008 and Permit No. SPA-2005-00413 has since expired.

Description of Work: The applicant proposes to fill approximately 0.95 acre of wetlands adjacent to an unnamed Sand Creek tributary for the construction of an approximately 18-acre mixed-use development consisting of commercial buildings and parking lots with stormwater systems and all utilities, as depicted in the conceptual design (Figure 4). In order to make the project site viable for the construction of the mixed-use commercial center, overlot grading will be required to provide suitable building pads. Construction of Phase 1 is proposed to commence in March 2015 with substantial completion in December 2016. Scheduling of Phase 2 is anticipated to occur within several years following Phase 1.

Purpose and Need: The applicant’s stated purpose and need for the project is to provide mixed-use commercial space in the vicinity of the Forest Meadows Subdivision.

Mitigation: The project would result in permanent impacts to 0.95 acre of wetlands associated with an unnamed Sand Creek tributary. Compensatory mitigation for the permanent loss of 10.01 acres of wetlands was originally required for the Forest Meadows Development under Permit No. SPA-2005-00413, but the majority of the wetlands on the Galles Family Property were not filled before the Forest Meadows Development was abandonedand the permit expired.

On April 7, 2014, the Corps issued Permit No. SPA-2013-00571 for the City of Colorado Springs to complete construction of Sand Creek Detention Basins 6 and 3, which will result in the establishment of approximately 10.01 acres of wetlands. The Corps has determined that the wetlands created by the completion of Basins 6 and 3 would satisfy the compensatory mitigation requirements for the original Forest Meadows Development, including the remaining 0.95 acre of wetlands on the Gelles Family Property. The City has provided correspondence guaranteeing that the required 0.95 acre of wetland mitigation for the Galles Family Property will be accounted for in Sand Creek Basins 6 and 3, which are under construction. In the event that a minimum of 10.01 acres of wetlands are not established in Basins 6 and 3, the permittee, in consultation with the City of Colorado Springs, will be required to identify alternative compensatory mitigation opportunities within the vicinity of the project site along Sand Creek.

Plans and Data: Drawings showing the location of the work site and other data are enclosed with this notice. If additional information is desired, it may be obtained from the applicant, or from:

Joshua G. Carpenter
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Southern Colorado Regulatory Office
200 South Santa Fe Avenue, Suite 301
Pueblo, Colorado 81003-4270
(719) 543-6914
Fax No. (719) 543-9475

Cultural Resources: The Corps has reviewed the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places and no properties listed in the Register are present at the site of the proposed construction. Consultation with the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has not revealed any pending nominations. This constitutes the extent of cultural resource investigations by the District Engineer. However, it is possible that presently unknown archeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historic data may be inadvertently lost or destroyed by the work accomplished under the requested permit. In the event that cultural resources are found, the permittee would be required to stop all work and the SHPO would be contacted for advice on the appropriate action to be taken.

Endangered Species: The Corps’ preliminary review indicates this project will not impact any federally listed threatened or endangered species or critical habitat.

State Water Quality Certification: The applicant has applied to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for certification that this work is in compliance with applicable State water quality standards. The applicant is responsible for obtaining all other required federal, state, and local authorizations for this work.

Evaluation Factors: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, 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 benefit that may be reasonably expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. The evaluation of the impact of this activity will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the EPA Administrator under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act. All factors relevant to the proposal and the cumulative effects will be considered; among these are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shore 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.

If the District Engineer determines that the project complies with the 404(b)(1) guidelines, he will grant the permit unless issuance would be contrary to the public interest.

In accordance with environmental procedures and documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, an environmental assessment will be prepared for this project. Upon completion, the assessment may be seen at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque District Office, at the address given above.

Comments: Any comments concerning this project should be received by the District Engineer no later than January 30, 2014. Comments received after the end of the public notice comment period will not be considered. However, more time may be given if a request, with a valid reason, is received prior to the suspense date. 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 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. 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.

Any person may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted, in writing, to the District Engineer within 21 days of the date of this notice and must clearly set forth the reasons for holding a public hearing.