Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jafza minimizing wetlands impact, fed. officials say

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff Writer Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Leave a Comment | Default | Large

With Jafza South Carolina LLC still bullish on its plans to build a logistics, manufacturing and distribution park near Santee, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials say the company has done a good job minimizing the project’s environmental impact.

“They have been pretty aggressive in gathering the information they have needed to move forward,” said Nathaniel Ball, project manager in the Corps’ regulatory division. “They have done a great job in terms of looking at the wetlands.”

Jafza, a subsidiary of Jafza Americas, first came to the Corps in February with its proposed development plans for the entire site, Ball said. The Corps reviewed those plans and the project’s impact on the wetlands on the site.

Jafza would need a permit from the Corps if it were to fill in wetlands, Ball said.

“The original layout impacted about three acres of wetlands,” with a rail yard running parallel to the CSX line, he said. “That would have caused more impact to the wetlands.”

But Ball said Jafza has since designed other alternatives to reduce the potential wetland impact to half an acre.

“They have two parcels that don’t have any wetland impact,” he said.

Ball said Jafza also has been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Historic Preservation Society to ensure preservation.

“Jafza conducted an endangered species survey and identified several wetlands on the project site that may be considered habitat for Canby’s dropwort (Oxypolis canbyii), a federally listed endangered species,” Ball said. “Based on a site inspection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, no individual plants were found on the project site and only one wetland was determined to be suitable habitat for this species.”

Ball while there is little likelihood of the site supporting dropwort, Jafza has agreed to preserve this wetland system as greenspace.

“Therefore, the proposed project is not expected to have an adverse impact on Canby’s dropwort,” Ball said. “Jafza has done a good job working with the USFWS to avoid and minimize potential adverse impacts to Canby’s dropwort.”

Ball said it was too early to tell what, if any, permits will be needed. Much will depend on the final development plans.

Company officials are still shooting for an early 2010 groundbreaking. Jafza plans to have the first tenants in the park by early 2011.

“Our company’s vision is to be the leading global provider of sustainable industrial and logistics infrastructure solutions,” Jafza spokeswoman Tara Robertson said.

Jafza first announced in September 2007 it intended to make a $600 million to $700 million investment near Santee.

Plans call for a 1,322-acre logistics, manufacturing and distribution park that will include light manufacturing, light industrial space, a public intermodal facility, a truck plaza, warehousing and mixed-use offices and commercial uses.

T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or by phone at 803-533-5551.

No comments: