If you care about protecting your community from the proposed Wegmans project, and all of the damage it will likely bring, now is the time to act. Below is a summary of the wetlands issues. Please read it over and use the information to write an email to DEQ and the ARMY CORPS. If we can generate enough emails, we can trigger a review of some of the loopholes being used to try to shoehorn an irresponsible project into the proposed site.
The Time to Protect Hanover is Now!
Friends and Colleagues,
Wegmans has filed their application for an individual wetland permit with the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality ( “DEQ”) to fill and drain wetlands on a 217 acre parcel. The Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comments on the federal wetlands permit with a deadline of May 1, 2020. The DEQ permit is also seeking comments on the state wetlands permit with a deadline of April 30, 2020.
The Corps is currently allowing the use of a novel wetlands classification - wetland mosaics - that are rarely utilized in the mid-Atlantic region to reduce the expected impact of the proposed project. Research on this classification indicates it has been inappropriately utilized for this site. This designation could create a new approach for future wetland impacts in the Commonwealth and the mid-Atlantic region as a result. Additionally, the wetlands delineation and permit fails to adequately consider the impacts of altered drainage patterns that will essentially reduce flows to wetlands (therefore draining them) and impacts to wetlands on adjacent properties hydrologically connected to impacted wetlands systems on site. The site has failed to be properly reviewed for compliance with the state required Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.
The Army Corps of Engineers must also consider impacts to 2 historical sites – one currently believed to be a residential structure and other features associated with the historic Merry Oaks Tavern. The other is the Brown Grove School, used by the local community descended from emancipated slaves as their early school house during segregation. In addition, long documented statements from Brown Grove community members stating there are graves on the property have been long ignored. Unfortunately, the limited archaeological work performed on the property to date failed to properly account for the both the unmarked graves and the school.
Given the current state of emergency due to the Coronavirus and the Governor’s stay-at-home order, we are concerned that the public will not be able to adequately participate in both the state and federal permit processes. Due to the complicated factors above, we are asking supporters to make the following requests to both the Corps and DEQ:
Extend the public comment period of both wetlands permits
Conduct public hearings regarding these proposed permits given the use of the rarely used and novel wetland mosaic classification, the improper conclusion that altered drainage areas will not negatively impact wetlands, and there was little to no consideration of impacts to connected wetlands on adjacent properties
Reassess impacts to historical resources and on-site unmarked graves that have not been adequately considered and addressed.
These issues are substantial and require a more robust public engagement process than the simple review and commentary process currently proposed by both the Corps and DEQ.
We need your help sharing this information with your family, friends, and colleagues. This is now the time to Protect Hanover from the proposed Wegmans’ Distribution Center. This project is not only out of place next to the residential neighborhoods located next to the property, but will cause significant harm to both water quality and historic resources.
Please write two separate emails to the Corps and DEQ, telling them you do NOT support this project and the proposed permits should be rejected due to the fundamental flaws associated with the wetlands delineation, unaccounted wetland impacts both on and off-site, and incomplete surveys that did not account for graves and the historic Brown Grove School. Email your comments to:
Letter 1 - US Army Corps of Engineers
firstname.lastname@example.org & William.T.Walker@usace.army.mil
Letter 2 - VA DEQ
What to include in your letters:
You MUST include your name, phone number, and mailing address (this is required for DEQ comments);
Reference the Federal (2012-02369) and State (VWPP No. 19-2036) permits;
State that you oppose Wegmans’ permit application and that it is not in the public interest;
State the proposed permits utilizes a novel approach to wetland permitting rarely seen in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region and its use creates a bad precedent;
State the proposed wetlands permits fail to properly account for secondary and off-site impacts;
State that known and unknown historic resources and graves should be preserved in place; especially graves that currently have a do-not-disturb local proffer condition in place;
Request a public hearing on the permit application; and
Send us a copy of your comments to email@example.com
Thank you for your support and efforts to Protect Hanover!