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Mowing error may have led to $950,000 land purchase in Newport News
Daily Press ^ | February 16, 2012 | Joe Lawlor

Posted on 02/22/2012 4:29:00 AM PST by csvset

NEWPORT NEWS — It might have been the most expensive mowing job in city history — as Newport News is now paying $950,000 to buy a property it shouldn't have mowed.

This weedy tale began in summer 2010, when City Farm inmates on a work detail for the Codes Compliance Department mistakenly mowed property off of Jefferson Avenue. The city was responding to a high weeds complaint, but did not realize that the 37-acre property in Denbigh was protected wetlands, officials said.

"After the fact, we found out that it was wetlands and we shouldn't have mowed it," said Harold Roach, the city's codes compliance director.

Newport News this week purchased the property for $950,000, partly due to the five acres that are needed to secure the legal right-of-way to build Atkinson Boulevard, a new $52 million road that will connect Warwick Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue by extending Atkinson Way from Warwick to Jefferson.

But also factoring into the city's decision to purchase the land was the mow job, officials said.

City Engineer Everett Skipper said once Newport News mowed the land, it became responsible for monitoring the wetlands on the property, which was owned by NewDunn Associates.

Skipper said the city was on the hook to pay at least $7,000 per year for the next several years for wetlands monitoring, which includes taking an inventory of the plants and shrubs, checking the water levels and testing the water chemistry of the site. Newport News could have also been required to pay NewDunn Associates for other costs, Skipper said.

When asked whether the city would have purchased the entire 37 acres — or just the five acres needed for the Atkinson Boulevard right-of-way — had the property not been mistakenly mowed, Skipper said it "would have been a tough call."

(Excerpt) Read more at dailypress.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: bs; mowing; scam; wetlands
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Skipper said the city was on the hook to pay at least $7,000 per year for the next several years for wetlands monitoring, which includes taking an inventory of the plants and shrubs, checking the water levels and testing the water chemistry of the site.

What a scam.

1 posted on 02/22/2012 4:29:04 AM PST by csvset
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To: csvset

Obviously someone is getting a kickback somewhere.


2 posted on 02/22/2012 4:35:11 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: csvset
"Skipper said ..."

..."I know all about "wet"."


3 posted on 02/22/2012 4:36:25 AM PST by BlueLancer (KOMEN PINK: The color of the water in the basin after Pilate finished washing his hands)
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To: csvset
pay at least $7,000 per year for the next several years for wetlands monitoring, which includes taking an inventory of the plants and shrubs, checking the water levels and testing the water chemistry of the site.

Is it any wonder that our country is going to hell in a hand basket?

4 posted on 02/22/2012 4:36:54 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Eccl 10 v. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.)
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To: csvset

I have lived my entire life close to the water, and I can say without doubt, that mowing that land didn’t harm a thing, In a month the grasses that grow close to the waters edge would have come back up as thick as ever, maybe thicker.


5 posted on 02/22/2012 4:45:01 AM PST by Venturer
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To: Graybeard58

taking an inventory of the plants and shrubs,...I want that job. “ Yup, weed here, #25, weed here, #26, Shrub here,#60...).


6 posted on 02/22/2012 4:46:09 AM PST by Safetgiver (I'd rather die under a free American sky than live under a Socialist regime.)
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To: csvset

Another taxpayer bails out private developer update!


7 posted on 02/22/2012 4:50:08 AM PST by liberateUS
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To: csvset

This is not nearly severe enough a penalty. The meddling leftists have stepped in their own trap and need to be removed from office.


8 posted on 02/22/2012 4:57:45 AM PST by Steamburg (The contents of your wallet is the only language Politicians understand.)
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To: driftdiver
The entire wetland fiasco is a kickback. We have them all over the place and they just attract mosquitos and birds with their feces. Had a big fight with them years back.

Had to talk with some Colonel in Buffalo NY. When I hung up, I called him by his first name to "stick it to him".

9 posted on 02/22/2012 4:57:53 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Safetgiver

Don’t forget the photographs. And make sure you get a photo of the wheeping willow for your report.


10 posted on 02/22/2012 4:59:30 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: csvset
Alright, let's get beyond the ridiculous notion that the city has to pay $7k per year to “monitor” the wetlands, and instead let's analyze the financials:

“We are on the hook for $7k per year, so let's spend $950,000 instead.”

11 posted on 02/22/2012 5:01:13 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: csvset

Bwahahaha! Government enforced labor causes purchase of government protected land with...your money.


12 posted on 02/22/2012 5:03:06 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (whomever told fat black women they were sexy was lying.)
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To: Venturer
There's "close to the water" and then there's "close to the Bay" or "in the Tidewater". The wetlands merge into the tidal areas ~ and there's not all that clear a delineation between the marsh and the dryland areas ~ although there are exceptions ~ particularly along the Potomac where one side of the river may be a marshland and mudflat and the other side a flowing stream with oceangoing ship draft depths.

It is simply not possible for these guys to have failed to notice that this was a protected wetland ~ that's a COMMON condition all around Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries ~ no one is that stupid!

This is a problem with allowing New Yorkers to move to Virginia ~ they see a protected wetland and think it's a bunch of weeds and start whining. I'd track down the complainant and stick her with the cost!

13 posted on 02/22/2012 5:04:27 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: csvset
mowed property off of Jefferson Avenue.

Here in Michigan, weeds grow back really, really fast....

14 posted on 02/22/2012 5:06:58 AM PST by Hot Tabasco (The only solution to this primary is a shoot out! Last person standing picks the candidate)
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To: Sacajaweau
We are talking about Tidewater Virginia, not inland Great Lakes where they don't have tides!

The Ocean goes up and down twice a day ~ nothing you can do about it, and not all shorelines are white sand beaches.

15 posted on 02/22/2012 5:07:13 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: csvset
The whole "Wetlands" issue is a scam, by Enviro-Wacko's, wherebly any area that is low, with puddles of water, is somehow gotta be "protected", when, in fact, it means NOTHING as long as drainage is maintained without un-do burdening of neighboring property.

When the "Wetlands" canard doesn't work, they'll find some goofy slug or insect or animal that is declared "Endangered" and stop useage of land one way or another.

Last, but certainly not least, is the over-used Declarations of vast areas as "National Park Land" by the BLM, to prevent useage, mostly in cases of mineral deposits interfering with a Donor's interest, and eliminating competition. This is what has happened in the Energy business (no drilling or mining), the logging industry, pipeline building, etc.

FOLLOW THE MONEY!

16 posted on 02/22/2012 5:07:17 AM PST by traditional1
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LET'S PUT THIS THING IN OVERDRIVE,
AND BRING THIS FREEPATHON HOME!



We're almost there
Click the Pic
Honk if you love Free Republic


17 posted on 02/22/2012 5:08:51 AM PST by deoetdoctrinae (Gun-free zones are playgrounds for felons)
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To: Sacajaweau

You know, there is a map of New York’s Central Park that claims to have every tree and large shrub identified by species and located on the correct place via GPS coordinates. Beautiful artwork. Reminds me of the beauty end existential pointlessness of the Hindu sandworks. Must be a real pain to take inventory after every storm.


18 posted on 02/22/2012 5:15:08 AM PST by battlecry
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To: traditional1

In America, before the communists took over, a wetland was called a swamp.


19 posted on 02/22/2012 5:15:41 AM PST by Reeses
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To: driftdiver

“Obviously someone is getting a kickback somewhere.”

My guess is former Mayor Joe Frank is involved.


20 posted on 02/22/2012 5:16:47 AM PST by wolfman23601
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To: csvset
City Engineer Everett Skipper said once Newport News mowed the land, it became responsible for monitoring the wetlands on the property, which was owned by NewDunn Associates.- who were overjoyed at their sudden turn of luck in being able to unload the worthless property at taxpayer expense. Originally intended for capitalistic purposes, environmentalists rendered it worthless which forced NewDunn to carry the property as a negative asset since its purchase.

Finished it for the author.

21 posted on 02/22/2012 5:16:47 AM PST by liberalh8ter (Obama - The United Nation's first U.S. Presidential Candidate)
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To: Sacajaweau
Don’t forget the photographs.

Yes, twenty-seven 8×10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence.

22 posted on 02/22/2012 5:17:55 AM PST by csvset
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To: battlecry

We haver that here, too. All the trees for the park were imported about 200 years ago and are tagged. But my favorite place in the Park is Shakespeare’s corner...with all its poison plants.


23 posted on 02/22/2012 5:22:16 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: muawiyah

My bet is that the complaitant was a politician..one of them do gooders.


24 posted on 02/22/2012 5:24:12 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Reeses
And our forefathers drained the wetlands as best they could because they knew that water was meant to flow...and malaria was killing them.

They had a news program in one of these swamps which is now a park...and the media chick was being eaten to death by mosquitos right before our eyes.

Pretty stupid advertsing of the wonders of that wetland.

25 posted on 02/22/2012 5:27:43 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Venturer

I live on a golf course in NC and we are surrounded by wetlands. About 4 times a year the mowing crews from the golf course mow everything within a hundred yards of the course........that day should be called “Golf Ball Christmas”.


26 posted on 02/22/2012 5:35:36 AM PST by Recon Dad (Gas & Petroleum Junkie)
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To: Yo-Yo

How does mowing result in the anyone but the owner being responsible?


27 posted on 02/22/2012 5:38:21 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: muawiyah

The property owner probably filed the initial compliant.


28 posted on 02/22/2012 5:40:55 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Sacajaweau

Well, I figure I have to have weinie roast for lunches, so I figure that old willer tree is as good as gone. Besides, it’s not on my list.


29 posted on 02/22/2012 5:42:08 AM PST by Safetgiver (I'd rather die under a free American sky than live under a Socialist regime.)
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To: Safetgiver
LOL, I got to do a wetlands inventory once. They are the most bogus things imaginable. You use aerial photos and soil conservation maps to prepare the survey. You only visit the site to confirm your findings and take samples and photos. Mine ended up being made into a presentation that was widely distributed at the time (and widely plagarized-the photos I took are STILL turning up on the web 20 years later).

Before you ask, I got paid hourly wages for it. In other words, next to nada. But it was gravy work, and the field survey was fun.

30 posted on 02/22/2012 5:58:44 AM PST by jboot
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To: csvset

It’s only tax dollars. No city official will owe a dime.


31 posted on 02/22/2012 6:03:38 AM PST by ladyjane
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To: Sacajaweau

I used to work for an environmental consulting firm. For the record, we worked for chemical and manufacturing companies helping them keep the EPA and state regulators off their backs.

That said, even we understood and appreciated the importance of wetlands - beyond the scope and demands of the government regs. They are a pain, but without them, there would be more flooding, less fish, dirtier rivers and streams, and more erosion. Those are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the importance of wetlands.


32 posted on 02/22/2012 6:25:40 AM PST by coop71 (Being a redhead means never having to say you're sorry...)
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To: traditional1

The definition wo “wetland” has been expended so far that now areas which no sane person would call a swamp are determined to be wetlands.

One of the criteria is the type of plant growing there.

Indicator Code Wetland Type Comment
OBL Obligate Wetland Occurs almost always (estimated probability 99%) under natural conditions in wetlands.

FACW Facultative Wetland Usually occurs in wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found in non-wetlands.

FAC Facultative Equally likely to occur in wetlands or non-wetlands (estimated probability 34%-66%).
FACU Facultative Upland Usually occurs in non-wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found on wetlands (estimated probability 1%-33%).

UPL Obligate Upland Occurs in wetlands in another region, but occurs almost always (estimated probability 99%) under natural conditions in non-wetlands in the regions specified. If a species does not occur in wetlands in any region, it is not on the National List.

Hear are the listing for North Carolina for some surprising plants that could get your property classified as a wetland.

red maple FACW+, OBL
poison sumac OBL
American elm FAC, FACW
silver maple FAC, FACW
slash pine FACW


33 posted on 02/22/2012 6:26:16 AM PST by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: csvset
What a scam.

"the 37-acre property in Denbigh was protected wetlands"

"the five acres that are needed to secure the legal right-of-way to build Atkinson Boulevard,"

OK to build a highway over the property, but not run a lawn mower over it?

Best not to try this in the backyard¿?

34 posted on 02/22/2012 6:32:45 AM PST by DUMBGRUNT (The best is the enemy of the good!)
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To: Reeses

and a Rain Forest was a Jungle.


35 posted on 02/22/2012 6:37:03 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: csvset
Yes, twenty-seven 8×10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence.

Classic

36 posted on 02/22/2012 6:46:34 AM PST by colinhester
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To: Yo-Yo
“We are on the hook for $7k per year, so let's spend $950,000 instead.”

You caught that too, huh.

37 posted on 02/22/2012 6:59:08 AM PST by bgill (Romney & Obama are both ineligible. A non-NBC GOP prez shuts down all ?s on Obama's admin)
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To: csvset
When asked whether the city would have purchased the entire 37 acres — or just the five acres needed for the Atkinson Boulevard right-of-way — had the property not been mistakenly mowed, Skipper said it "would have been a tough call."

Hmmm, spend tons of money to buy 37 acres, or a lot less to buy just 5 acres, when all you really want or need is those 5 acres. Yeah, that's a real tough call. For a thought-challenged liberal, perhaps. For the rest of us, not so much.
38 posted on 02/22/2012 7:02:29 AM PST by Oceander (TINSTAAFL - Mother Nature Abhors a Free Lunch almost as much as She Abhors a Vacuum)
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To: coop71
It's not really about wetlands is it...It's about property rights.

The idea that I can't put a shed on my property because it is in a buffer area is absurd. There's wetlands and then there's REAL wetlands.

Mitigation has become the solution...and that's pretty much what the farmers did 200 years ago.

Psst...And people are paying taxes on those "confiscated" lands.

39 posted on 02/22/2012 7:23:58 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: muawiyah
The Ocean goes up and down twice a day

Except for a few days a month on and after the half moons when it only goes up and down once.

40 posted on 02/22/2012 7:30:57 AM PST by Darth Reardon (No offense to drunken sailors)
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To: Sacajaweau

I agree.


41 posted on 02/22/2012 7:33:14 AM PST by coop71 (Being a redhead means never having to say you're sorry...)
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To: Safetgiver

I actually know a lady that had that exact job; she inventoried plants on Ft Bliss and there was (may still be) an ongoing study to see if the Army was damaging any native plants. If endangered specie were found in areas where the Army had activity they had to be moved. She was well paid too.


42 posted on 02/22/2012 7:50:11 AM PST by Tammy8 (~Secure the border and deport all illegals- do it now! ~ Support our Troops!~)
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To: Sacajaweau
"It's not really about wetlands is it...It's about property rights."

You can 'own' protected wetland. You just can't develop it.

A convoluted example, for generations there was an area on private land the local high school took students to, to study "wetland" plants. It was registered as such by the county and state, but was really a water shed that fed a farm pond a third mile away (in my back yard).

Then during the real estate bubble a bunch of local lawyers thought they could shoehorn 50 houses into this small land patch. They went to work on local gov proving to them the land wasn't really all that "wet". And after hauling in many thousands of tons of sand, they were right.

In the end, karma hit them sweetly when the bubble burst, and they all lost their asses before a single foundation was poured.

43 posted on 02/22/2012 8:14:58 AM PST by moehoward
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To: csvset
” it was wetlands and we shouldn't have mowed it”

Do others find that statement as funny as I do? Should something not be considered a wetland if it can be mowed!?!?

44 posted on 02/22/2012 8:17:44 AM PST by HereInTheHeartland (I love how the FR spellchecker doesn't recognize the word "Obama")
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To: HereInTheHeartland
This is around Chesapeake Bay. They probably shouldn't have mowed it if this is a tidal area or near a tidal area. We have a lot of places around the bay that don't look like wetlands until the tide comes in. The plants there are finely attuned to the ebb and flow of saltwater.

Leave them alone and they will do just fine. Mow them and they might not survive.

There are species of European plants that have been domesticated to survive in these environments and you can rake them seasonally ~ a common practice in Nova Scotia and Quebec ~ but not down here.

45 posted on 02/22/2012 8:22:56 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Tammy8
I've gone with these people on their hunts....right in the backyard of a residential area with house all around for about 100 years....right to the ditch in the corner of the lot where there were a few cattails...Had to fight with them for a month but I won...It was neither a wetland nor of sufficient area and there was no wetland nearby...It was merely seeds...blown in the wind into a ditch between lots.

Sorry, most of them are a bunch of overpaid jerks enjoying their power.

Every time I challenged them, I won and I got it in writing while creating a loooooong paper trail.

46 posted on 02/22/2012 8:24:27 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: moehoward
And you now have a farm pond that is mostly filled-in with sand...

But, I bet no one asked you before they started dumping sand.

47 posted on 02/22/2012 8:42:45 AM PST by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: muawiyah
Imported "Native Plants"....There's a joke.

All our local parks are full of imported plants....dating back to the early 1800's. The nursery business was BIG business. Our locals made out like bandits. They set themselves up near the cemeteries and also supplied trees for the city. Needless to say, they were part of the "big boys" in town.

48 posted on 02/22/2012 8:46:12 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: moehoward

Here’s the problem....The wetland laws were “created” by our government. We were doing just fine without them and I can find hundreds of projects that proves life was just fine without the “wetland Laws”.


49 posted on 02/22/2012 9:02:48 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Sacajaweau

When I think of what would have happened to anyone else after they “accidentally mowed” a wetland, it makes me disgusted to think the other side gains by their mistakes.
The citizen would have been jailed and fined until he was a street bum.


50 posted on 02/22/2012 10:21:48 AM PST by Cowgirl
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