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Wanchese Boatbuilder Seeks to Fill Wetlands

WANCHESE – A boatbuilder here has applied for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill a quarter-acre of wetlands in order to expand his business.

The Scarborough site, 437 and 455 The Lane in Wanchese, includes 0.65 total acres of wetlands and 0.12 acres of high ground. The 0.29 acres already filled was for a gravel parking lot. Image: Army Corps of Engineers

Officials with the Corps’ Wilmington district issued a public notice Thursday seeking comment on the application received from Richard V. Scarborough. The Corps had previously issued Scarborough a notice of violation for filling 0.29 acres of wetlands on the property without a permit last September.

Scarborough in his application proposes to restore 0.15 acres of the previously filled wetlands, which was a violation of Section 301 of the Clean Water Act, as well as additional filling of 0.1 acres of wetlands, resulting in a total of 0.25 acres of permanent wetland impacts, according to the Corps.

The Corps said it had suspended legal action on the violation pending the outcome on the application. The Corps’ said its final decision will be based on public comments on the proposed project. The decision could be to issue the permit with or without conditions or deny the proposed work.

“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,” according to the Corps.

Scarborough could not be reached for comment for this report.

The site, 437 and 455 The Lane in Wanchese, includes 0.65 total acres of wetlands and 0.12 acres of high ground. The 0.29 acres already filled was for a gravel parking lot. The proposed expansion includes construction of a new building, wastewater system, parking and drive aisles for large trucks delivering materials.

The project would be within the service area of an existing mitigation bank. The wetland fill would be mitigated by a purchase of 0.5 wetland mitigation credits at a ratio of 2:1 from Great Dismal Swamp Restoration Bank LLC, according to Corps documents.

The public notice triggers essential fish habitat consultation requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The Corps’ initial determination is that the proposed project will have no effect on essential fish habitat or associated fisheries.

No historic properties or endangered species would be affected, according to documents, but the Corps will request an opinion from the state Division of Coastal Management on whether the proposed work would comply with the North Carolina Coastal Zone Management Program.

How to comment

The Corps will accept written comments on the proposed work until 5 p.m., Sept. 16. Comments should be submitted to Billy Standridge, Washington Regulatory Field Office, 2407 West Fifth St., Washington, North Carolina 27889.

The public notice and all attached plans are available on the Wilmington District’s website.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.