Landscaping business seeks permit to fill wetland area in Silverthorne
Neils Lunceford, a landscaping business based in Silverthorne, is hoping to use more of its recently acquired property by filling in wetlands in the area.
Neils Lunceford moved off its old operational location in October 2019 onto a property at 981 Adams Ave. behind the Groove Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram dealership. However, CEO and President Jeffrey Lunceford said the business currently can use only about 3 acres of the 10-acre property because there are wetlands on the site. The company’s previous property provided about 12 acres of space. As a result, the company has applied for a permit to use more of the new property by leveling and filling in about an acre of wetland space.
Lunceford explained that the business operates in two locations: the main nursery across from Target, and an area where bulk materials are stored and the service side of the business operates. In 2019, the company lost its lease on its operational location and bought the Adams Avenue property.
Lunceford said disturbing the wetland would allow the company to continue to operate in Summit County. He said the daily operations, such as employee parking for about 80 vehicles and housing for machinery and other materials, has been a challenge on the smaller site.
The business is undergoing a permit process with the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in some of the wetlands on the property.
“There are going to be wetlands that remain on the site,” Lunceford said. “What we’re doing is, the flat spaces there, we’re going to level out to be able to use for our operations. And then we are going through the whole mitigation process, which we still don’t have final numbers on. The (Army Corps) actually dictates that … for whatever we’re disturbing, we will then be purchasing wetlands from a wetlands bank to offset.”
The idea is that as Neils Lunceford causes the wetland disturbance, it purchases a set amount of wetlands elsewhere that won’t be disturbed.
The town of Frisco undertook a similar land swap when it disturbed 1.03 acres of wetlands along the edge of the reservoir for a marina project. As a result, the town dedicated the Meadow Creek conservation easement, which will be permanently protected from development.
Public comments for the Neils Lunceford project will be considered by the Amy Corps in determining whether it will issue, modify or deny the permit and whether a public hearing will be held.
The public notice explains that the proposed activity “entails leveling and surfacing of the site with appropriate fill for landscape operations and minor building structures.” The development will permanently impact 1.23 acres of wetland and fill 562 linear feet of a drainage channel.
The notice states that Neils Lunceford has proposed to purchase wetland mitigation credits at a 4-1 ratio at Finger Rock Preserve, which is a wetland mitigation bank in southern Routt County that has been approved by the Army Corps. The application is being evaluated under the Clean Water Act.
Written comments can be submitted through Feb. 5 to the office of Tyler R. Adams, Project Manager; Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District; Colorado West Regulatory Section, 400 Rood Ave., Room 224; Grand Junction, CO 81501.
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