Jason and I received a letter from Orange County's Environmental
Protection Division. They have completed the conservation area
determination and classified our wetlands as Class II. This is better
than class I, and cheaper to mitigate. Steve has a very good
relationship with the county guy, Sheldon, and Steve had told us
beforehand that it would likely be a II because it is a disturbed area,
and on a retention pond rather than a true natural lake. We now need to
send the county a letter saying we accept their determination.
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that, we need to get in contact with our surveyor and have him add the
wetland line to the survey. Three copies of the survey will go to the
county, and we will get two of them back. We must do this within ninety
Next, we begin the process of conservation area impact.
The county EPD will send the survey to the state DEP, and alphabet soup
will ensue... Just kidding... Seriously, they will talk it over, and
Steve will have by this time prepared what he calls a "flexmap." With
the flexmap, he will show that even though the property is mostly class
II wetland, the middle half of the property is arguably the area that
should be impacted, in order to leave the cypress stands intact. Even
from the aerial photos, you can see that this is the case, but with the
state, who knows.
Mitigation: I feel like the mitigation
market is a local version of the stock market or something. It's up,
it's down. Since we have begun the process, prices for mitigation on
our property have been estimated at anywhere from 20k to 5k. Luckily
for us, it's been a downward trend. My personal feeling is that this is
because it's a case of a policy where the cart came before the horse
(development, then conservation policy), so there's really no legal leg
for mitigation charges to stand on. What needs to happen (for the best
interest of the environment) is for all of the wetland decision-makers
to get together, figure out one cohesive process and fee structure,
backed up of course by policy research. Of course, this from a girl
with an environmental conscience and a social policy degree. LOL.
actually going to happen is some sort of bargaining with a mutually
beneficial outcome. The poor policy planning results in the process
being highly negotiable and malleable, and it changes on a daily basis.
Today, the going price for a mitigation "credit," which equates to 1/4
acre impact, is a steal at $5,000. My $5,000 will be used to preserve
forever a quarter acre of land elsewhere. Last month, if you remember,
it was a formula based on appraised price and it was simply a cash
donation to the county for future purchase of public lands. Crossing
our fingers that something major doesn't change the fee structure in
the near future. Homebuilding is basically holding your breath and
hoping for no:
market changes in construction
On to other topics... Designer plans any day now!!! SOOOOOO excited for this to happen, finally! Progress in leaps and bounds.