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 ...
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.