Feds may have say on league fields

Posted 2/8/00

By ERNESTO C. ANGUILLAStaff Reporter The development of the site slated to become the new home of Continental Little League a project which has been a source of controversy for the past several months may now require additional approval. The Army …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Feds may have say on league fields

Posted

By ERNESTO C. ANGUILLAStaff Reporter The development of the site slated to become the new home of Continental Little League a project which has been a source of controversy for the past several months may now require additional approval. The Army Corps of Engineers may become involved in a wetland violation on the plot of land located adjacent to the Crowne Plaza Hotel by the Crossings.In a letter sent to Kelly Coates, senior vice president of Carpionato Properties, Inc., the Army Corps said it had received a complaint from Neal Breen of Northbridge Ave. and indicated the necessity of its involvement at this point.“An area of wetland measuring approximately 130 feet by 50 feet was cleared and filled at the property located at 801 Greenwich Ave.,” wrote Robert DeSista, chief of permits and enforcement within the regulatory branch of the Army Corps. “This work appears to be within Corps of Engineers jurisdiction.”DeSista went on to point out that although Carpionato may have received the appropriate permits from state and local authorities, it would be a federal violation to perform work in that area without Army Corps approval.Furthermore, he said, there are three criteria that qualify a wetland for Army Corps jurisdiction: inundation with water, presence of wetland vegetation, and the presence of soil.“In addition, it appears that the land in question is more than 5,000 square feet in size which would necessitate Army Corps approval,” said Michael Elliott, a project manager for the Army Corps.Phillip Loscoe, a vice president with the RDW Group, public relations liaison for Carpionato, said he did not believe the area in question did fall within Army Corps jurisdiction. Moreover, said Loscoe, if it did, the point has been rendered moot by the actions Carpionato has taken since the initial incident.“It is extremely important, from our perspective, that this is not taken in the way that Mr. Breen and other neighbors want it to be taken as a de facto violation of Army Corps of Engineers regulations,” said Loscoe. “Since the incident, which [Carpionato] owned up to several months ago as an error, we have been in the process of removing the fill under close supervision by DEM [Department of Environmental Management].”He went on to say that the actions Carpionato has been taking to bring the wetlands into compliance with DEM would also bring them into compliance with the Army Corps, should its jurisdiction be affirmed.Within the letter were a number of questions directed to Coates that were designed to gauge whether or not Carpionato is in violation. Elliott said that if the development group does not bring the wetlands into compliance within a reasonable amount of time, enforcement procedures would be enacted.“As long as they are proceeding in good faith, there should not be any difficulties,” said Elliott.According to Gail Mastrati, press secretary for the DEM, Carpionato has been in the process of removing the fill material and restoring the wetlands. Stephen Tyrell, an inspector for DEM, said that once the department realized that Carpionato was filling in the wetlands, he issued a verbal cease and desist order.“Mr. Coates and I had an understanding that no further work affecting the wetlands should occur until he restored that area,” said Tyrell. The letter directs Coates to identify whether or not Carpionato violated the Army Corps' jurisdiction without obtaining a permit, and why.“If we determine there has been a violation of federal law, you must either remove all work within our jurisdiction, thereby completely restoring the area to preconstruction conditions, or apply for and receive after-the-fact authorization to retain the work,” said DeSista.As for future development in the area, Loscoe is confident that the Army Corps' alleged jurisdiction will not have a significant impact on their planning process.“That is unless I am vastly underrating their regulatory process,” he said. “As far as I'm concerned, this is an administrative matter.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment