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Developer seeks U.S. Army Corps permit

A new, large commercial development, dubbed The Summit at Oxford Commons, is in the early planning stage, which includes a neces- sary permit to work on a small area of wetlands inside the proposed development.

Developer David Blackburn has applied for a Department of Army permit through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material associated with the development that will sit on 34.57 acres of land.

The proposed impact only a half-acre of forested wetlands and 1,210 linear feet of a drainage basin. About 1,829 cubic yards of clean dirt would be put back in the impacted areas. Blackburn has proposed to mitigate for the unavoidable loss of wetland impacts by purchasing credits from an approved mitigation bank servicing the area if the mitigation cannot be done on site.

“We will comply with all government regulations,” Blackburn said Thursday.

According to the application, the purpose of The Summit at Oxford Commons is to provide needed retail shopping on the east side of Oxford, reduce congestion on the west side of Oxford and serve the local existing and new residential developments in the area, Blackburn said.

The Summit at Oxford Commons is proposed to have approximately 149,400 square feet of commercial retail space with five primary buildings and five out-parcels for sale with attendant features including utilities, site lighting, parking, driveways, a storm water detention pond and other features typical of a commercial development.

Vegetation growing in the wetland area includes: American sycamore, sweet gum, red maple and trumpet creeper. The placement of dredged/and or fill material in waters of the U.S. requires a department of the Army permit.

Blackburn said he is excited about the project that is “coming together.”

“We’re still working through details so we can’t release any tenant names at this time,” he said. “But we’re making a lot of progress with it.”

Public input

The public is invited to submit concerns and opinions on the impacts this work could have on the natural and human environment and address any mitigation believed to be necessary to offset these impacts.

“Other comments are welcome but the above information will further review of the applicant’s plan as proposed,” said Thomas A. McCabe, acting chief of the evalu- ation section in Regulatory Branch of the U.S. Army Corps in a written public notice. “Comments of a general nature are not as helpful as those specific to the impacts of the subject project.”

Decision factors

The decision whether or not to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits must be balanced against expected adverse effects.

All factors, which may be relevant to the proposal, will be considered. Among these are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, historic values, fish and wildlife values, flood damage prevention, land use classification, navigation, recreation, water supply, water quality, energy needs, safety, food requirements and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

“All comments will be considered and used to help determine whether to issue the permit, deny the permit or issue the permit with conditions, and to help deter- mine the amount and type of mitigation necessary,” McCabe said.

Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing. Any resident may make a written request for a public hearing to consider this permit application. This request must be submitted by the public notice expiration date of Nov. 30, and must clearly state why a hearing is necessary.

Comments should be submitted in writing to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, Vicksburg District, 4155 Clay St., Vicksburg, MS 39183-3435 or to MDEQ at P.O. Box 2261, Jackson, MS 39225.

Final permit actions are published online at www.mvk.usace. army.mil/Missions/Regulator.aspx and click on ORM Permit Decisions under Program Links.

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