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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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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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