Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

EPA gives green light to Cypress Creek Town Center

WESLEY CHAPEL — The proposed Cypress Creek Town Center scored another victory as federal regulators declined to stop the project after a Tampa congresswoman asked them to review it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "does not consider the project's impact sufficient to require restrictions … and believes that the requirements of the … permit and the storm water permits are protective of Cypress Creek and the adjacent wetlands at this location," acting administrator A. Stanley Meiburg wrote to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor last month.

The EPA began reviewing the proposed Wesley Chapel mall in September after Castor requested it, expressing concerns that it might harm the adjacent creek, a federally protected waterway that feeds Tampa's drinking water supply.

The proposed 1 million-square-foot mall is being developed by the Richard E. Jacobs Group of Cleveland and Sierra Properties of Tampa. Developers have said that when all phases are complete, Cypress Creek Town Center is expected to provide more than 3,800 full-time jobs, more than 1,000 construction jobs, annual revenue of $6 million for Pasco County and $2.4 million for the Pasco County school district.

The project has been dogged by environmental issues from the beginning.

In February 2008, plans were put on hold for 18 months when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended the mall's permit after muddy water flowed into Cypress Creek.

The corps reinstated the permit on Sept. 4 after the developers agreed to a $297,000 fine for violating the Clean Water Act. The corps' reinstatement of the permit prompted Castor, who had criticized the project as a Hillsborough County commissioner, to ask the EPA to intervene.

In its letter to Castor, the EPA agreed with the corps' findings and said human error and bad timing, rather than the project's design, caused the discharge into the creek. It mentioned that developers have complied with mitigation requirements and have built a berm to separate the site from natural areas.

The Sierra Club also has sued the corps over its decision to issue the permit, and Kearney Construction LLC, which did earthwork for the mall and later filed for bankruptcy, has sued the developers over $1.6 million it says it is owed for work after changes were put in place to protect Cypress Creek.

Those cases are pending. The Sierra Club recently asked for a judge to rule in its favor without a trial. That motion is pending.

Castor's aides could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"We are pleased that the U.S. EPA's review of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering's wetland permit indicated that the Corps acted properly with their thorough review of the project," mall spokeswoman Deanne Roberts said in an e-mail Wednesday.

Developers already spent $21 million widening State Road 54 between I-75 and U.S. 41 and soon will choose a contractor to extend County Road 54 through the mall site.

"This action further demonstrates our commitment to this important retail center," Roberts said.

EPA gives green light to Cypress Creek Town Center 01/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 8:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees

    Politics

    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact

    World

    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.