County EDA approves purchase of wetlands credits for project at Grove property

Staff writer

The James City Economic Development Authority voted to buy wetland mitigation credits Tuesday to take some of the environmental sting out of a proposed construction project at James River Commerce Center.

The authority voted unanimously to spend $6,080 to purchase credits for .19 acres of wetlands as part of an ongoing project to develop property at 8925 Columbia Drive, which is owned by the authority.

In August, the authority approved a $2,400 contract with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin to create conceptual site layouts for a new shell building at 8925 Columbia Drive. The land is vacant.

The EDA should buy the credits now because they’re getting more difficult to come by,due to changes made to by the Army Corps of Engineers in how it evaluates and treats mitigation banks. Credits don’t expire, economic development director Amy Jordan said.

“We might have a more difficult time trying to mitigate later,” she said.

The building would be 81,600 square feet, and the contractor is to draw up three concepts for its use — a manufacturing facility, a warehouse and a cross-dock operation.

Officials hope that multiple concepts will provide the widest possible net to catch companies that may set up in the commerce park. The site is located on 11-acre plot at the center, which is located in the county’s southeast. The authority intends to subdivide the building’s land from the center’s parcel in the future.

The authority will buy the credits from the Chesapeake Wetland Mitigation Bank.

The Army Corps of Engineers issued the wetland delineation and permit last year. James City County will have to approve a land disturbing permit in order for the authority to develop the site in accordance with its site plan, the memo states.

“It’s just another thing that gets it to a ‘ready, go’ standpoint as a shovel-ready property,” Jordan said.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

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