Water Permit: 65 Commerce Park West
Braun Property Development applied for an Isolated Wetland Permit to impact a forested wetland to build an industrial complex. HEC commented on the proposal, calling on IDEM and the USACE to ensure that the wetland was evaluated under the significant nexus standard in the Clean Water Act. The impacted wetland is over 7o years old, shows a nexus with White Lick Creek, and could potentially be home to endangered, rare, and threatened species.
As a result of HEC’s comments, the developer will be planting native grasses and flowers on four acres along White Lick Creek. This supplemental environmental project (SEP) will provide additional wildlife habitat and buffering between the waterway and the development.
Water Permit: Parks at Decatur
D.R. Horton Homes applied for an Isolated Wetland Permit and 404 Dredge and Fill Permit to impact headwater wetlands and streams to construct a residential subdivision. The developer did not properly analyze alternatives to impacting the headwaters, which are environmentally significant areas within a watershed, and Indiana’s Wetland and Stream Mitigation program is not sufficiently replacing wetlands needed to offset losses. This permit is currently under review as of May 2023.
Water Permit: Argo Self Storage Facility
Argo Family Storage, LLC applied for an Isolated Wetland Permit to impact a Class II forested wetland to build a self-storage facility. The self-storage facility is going to be built in an area that is already home to several similar facilities. HEC requested additional information from the developer to ensure that they properly analyzed alternatives to impacting wetlands and highlighted the need to protect wetlands to curb wetland losses. The permit was approved.
GP-CM County Line Partners requested to rezone 200 acres of agriculture fields that contained historic wetlands and old forests along County Line Road and I-65 to construct a large industrial complex along the I-65 corridor. Many of the natural areas are not incorporated into the proposed development, contrary to the principles of the I-65 & County Line Road Strategic Plan. HEC submitted written comments and testified at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Commission, advocating for the protection of the natural areas. The commission all voted in favor to approve the request, citing a need for industrial developments in the city.
- Oral testimony (below)
Water Permit: Lennar Homes
Lennar Homes applied for a 401 Water Quality Certificate to impact the headwaters to Abner Creek to construct a residential development. This portion of the Abner Creek watershed has experienced rapid development over the years, with most of it being residential subdivisions. HEC called on the developer to demonstrate that the wetland impacts are necessary and appropriately minimized, and to implement more protective water quality measures as part of the mitigation requirements under Indiana’s Water Quality Standards.
Water Permit: Miles Farm
D.R. Horton Homes applied for a Joint State Isolated Wetland Permit and Section 401 Water Quality Certificate to construct a residential subdivision on 400 acres of agriculture land that contains the headwaters of Mill Creek. HEC requested that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management reclassify the wetland on site as a Class III wetland and require the developer to properly analyze alternatives to impacting the wetland and wooded streams.
Rezone Proposal: Beaver Gravel Pit
Excavation and Mining
Beaver Gravel and the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department submitted a rezone request to operate a sand and gravel mining operation in the floodplain of the White River, next to the historic Potter’s Bridge Park. HEC submitted comments urging the Noblesville Planning Commission to deny the rezone request because it would promote habitat loss and degrade the White River.
Thanks to the tireless advocacy of local community group Don’t Leave It To Beaver and others who spoke out against the project, the plan commission issued an unfavorable recommendation to the Noblesville Common Council.
Water Permit: FedEx Parking Lot and Building Expansion
The developer of a new parking lot for a FedEx facility applied for a State Isolated Wetland Permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to pave over high-quality, forested wetlands that were adjacent to wetlands within a 41-acre protected marsh habitat. The permit was approved, but HEC’s comments prompted the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to reclassify all wetlands as Class III, which indicates they are of moderate quality and rare or ecologically important. The developer also redesigned the parking lot so that it included stormwater control measures such as constructed wetlands.