kevin oneill beach company vice president

Kevin O’Neill, VP Development, The Beach Company, Charleston, SC

Building on Wetlands

Multifamily News, a provider of in-depth news and analysis on the events and players shaping the multi-housing industry, recently published an article by The Beach Company’s Vice President of Development Kevin O’Neill to share what developers need to know about building on wetlands – particularly in the Southeast.

Building on WetlandsFederally managed and regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, wetlands are areas permanently inundated by water that store floodwater, provide wildlife habitat, protect vegetation growth and maintain surface water flow during dry periods. Because most Southeast region is abundant with areas of land consisting of marshes or swamps, development in these areas is particularly extensive, risky and expensive in most cases.

O’Neill emphasizes how important it is for developers to be aware that any construction impacting a wetland, or the filling of an existing wetland, without obtaining proper approval, is a federal offense subject to fines and penalties as well as the total shutdown of the site and/or a requirement to restore the impacted area.

O’Neill offers the following tips and more to developers seeking to build in the Southeast:

  • Be aware of any and all delineations in order to identify whether or not there are wetlands on the property.
  • Know whether there is a wetlands delineation on any parcel as well as the location + extent of the jurisdictional wetlands on the property.
  • Be aware of any land being developed can be legally filled to build access roads, lay utilities, etc.
  • A permit (404) is required if the buyer or seller finds the development is more than half an acre and will impact wetlands.
  • If the development plan disturbs less than half an acre of wetlands, it will usually be permitted.
  • If not permitted, one must obtain a permit by drawing up a master plan and submitting an application to the Corps of Engineers.
  • The Corps tends to frown on filling wetlands in a building lot, but they may be sympathetic if it’s a small portion when road access to the larger part of the property is needed.
  • A permit from the state agency will likely be required if saltwater wetlands are impacted.

Read the story here:

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