Skip to comments.Mowing error may have led to $950,000 land purchase in Newport News
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 ...
What a scam.
Obviously someone is getting a kickback somewhere.
..."I know all about "wet"."
Is it any wonder that our country is going to hell in a hand basket?
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.
taking an inventory of the plants and shrubs,...I want that job. “ Yup, weed here, #25, weed here, #26, Shrub here,#60...).
Another taxpayer bails out private developer update!
This is not nearly severe enough a penalty. The meddling leftists have stepped in their own trap and need to be removed from office.
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".
Don’t forget the photographs. And make sure you get a photo of the wheeping willow for your report.
“We are on the hook for $7k per year, so let's spend $950,000 instead.”
Bwahahaha! Government enforced labor causes purchase of government protected land with...your money.
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!
Here in Michigan, weeds grow back really, really fast....
The Ocean goes up and down twice a day ~ nothing you can do about it, and not all shorelines are white sand beaches.
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!
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.
In America, before the communists took over, a wetland was called a swamp.
“Obviously someone is getting a kickback somewhere.”
My guess is former Mayor Joe Frank is involved.
Finished it for the author.
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.
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.
My bet is that the complaitant was a politician..one of them do gooders.
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.
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”.
How does mowing result in the anyone but the owner being responsible?
The property owner probably filed the initial compliant.
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.
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.
It’s only tax dollars. No city official will owe a dime.
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.
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
"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¿?
and a Rain Forest was a Jungle.
You caught that too, huh.
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.
Except for a few days a month on and after the half moons when it only goes up and down once.
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.
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.
Do others find that statement as funny as I do? Should something not be considered a wetland if it can be mowed!?!?
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.
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.
But, I bet no one asked you before they started dumping sand.
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.
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”.
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.