News

AVID Group® and Cuhaci & Peterson Architects, LLC present donation check to the Hospice Foundation of America

The 12th annual Golf Fore the Care tournament co-sponsored by AVID Group® and Cuhaci & Peterson Architects, LLC was held on October 17, 2008 at Huntington Hills Golf and Country Club in Lakeland. This year over $15,800 was raised for the Hospice Foundation of America in honor of AVID team member Jayson Kmiec, who passed away in 2005 from cancer.

Hospice is a concept of medical care based upon the promise that when medical science can add no more days to a person’s life, then there should be more life added to each day. Hospice provides a comprehensive array of medical and social services designed to help patients and their families cope with the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial distress associated with terminal illness. For more information please visit http://www.hospicefoundation.org.

Kevin Songer Completes Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist Exam

Kevin Songer, JD, LEED® AP, ISA recently demonstrated professional competency by successfully completing the Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist examination administered through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the local chapter of the ISA. The purpose of the ISA Certification Program is to improve the level of knowledge and standard of practice within the tree care profession. It is designed to assist the public in identifying those professionals in arboriculture who have demonstrated, through a professionally developed examination and education program, a thorough knowledge of tree care practices. All Certified Arborists/Municipal Specialists carry a wallet identification card for verification. Certification is valid for three years. The ISA program tests and certifies an individual’s knowledge in the field of Arboriculture. The International Society of Arboriculture is a scientific and educational organization devoted to the dissemination of information in the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees. ISA’s Certification Program is designed to promote the professional development of those involved in the field of arboriculture or tree care. When contracting for your tree care needs, contact individuals who are certified through this voluntary program.

AVID Group® Names New Civil Engineering Department Head

Jeremy Waugh, PE has been named as the Civil Engineering Department Head for AVID’s corporate office in Palm Harbor. Jeremy brings over 8 years of experience in the field of Civil Engineering, all of them with AVID Group®. Waugh’s expertise includes traffic design, residential design, drainage design, as well as design and permitting of roadway improvements on local, county, and state roadway systems.

AVID Group® Appoints Corporate Office Manager

Robert Fudge, PE has been appointed Office Manager for AVID’s corporate office in Palm Harbor. He has 24 years of experience in the field of Civil Engineering and an extensive background in management, quality assurance and design. Fudge is a Principal with AVID Group® and will continue his duties as the Director of Civil Engineering for the firm.

AVID’s President Steven J. Stuebs speaks at ICSC 2008 Florida Conference

Steven J. Stuebs, PE was moderator for a session entitled “No Room for Error – Development in Challenging Economic Times.” The panel consisted of an experienced developer, a land-use attorney, a land planner and a civil engineer discussing an example project, identifying issues and making suggestions on how to prevail on development challenges. The session focussed on the impact of those challenges as they relate to legal and planning issues, entitlements, economic proformas and project schedules. An update on the Florida Growth Management Legislation (as it relates to concurrency) was provided.

Steven Stuebs Appointed to Serve on the Board of Directors for the Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County

Steven J. Stuebs, PE, President of AVID Group®, has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors for the Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County (HfHPC). HfHPC is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International which is a nonprofit volunteer based organization that works in partnership with people in need to build decent, affordable housing. Since 1985, they have constructed 149 homes for struggling families, using locally raised funds.

AVID Group® Environmental Sciences Permitting Alert

On March 31, 2008, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) issued revised regulations governing compensatory mitigation for authorized impacts to wetlands, streams, and other waters of the U.S. under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

AVID Environmental Services believes the final rule contains several points of interest that our clients should be aware of, including:

  • Wetland impact mitigation approach has changed from onsite focus to watershed focus,
  • Development of 12 technical mitigation fundamentals that should be satisfied for permitting,
  • A renewed focus on avoidance and minimization.

It should be noted the objective of the new regulations, as stated by the Corps are to: “improve the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation to replace lost aquatic resource functions and area, expand public participation in compensatory mitigation decision making, and increase the efficiency and predictability of the mitigation project review process.” See http://www.epa.gov/wetlandsmitigation/#guidance.

However unlike the old ‘on-site’ preference, the new approach to compensatory mitigation is ranked with a basin or watershed philosophy. The new approach will afford our clients greater flexibility with respect to potential mitigation opportunities. We anticipate mitigation bank credits to experience a slight increase in price initially, then adjusting to a market-demand pricing structure based on availability. Under the final rule, compensatory mitigation priorities will be structured with the following priority ranking:

  1. Regional or Basin specific Mitigation Bank – most desired
  2. In-Lieu Fee Mitigation (Local watershed directive) – most desired
  3. Permittee Responsible Mitigation (On-Site) – marginally desired
  4. Permittee Responsible Mitigation (Off-Site) – least desired

The new 12 technical factors an applicant needs to address during wetland impact permitting and compensatory mitigation are:

  • Mitigation objectives (global to general)
  • site selection criteria
  • site protection instruments (e.g., conservation easements)
  • baseline information (for impact and compensation sites)
  • credit determination methodology
  • mitigation work plan
  • maintenance plan
  • ecological performance standards
  • monitoring requirements
  • long-term management plan
  • an adaptive management plan
  • financial assurances

Though the above list may sound complicated, it may possibly provide for more options for use when justifying a mitigation approach for wetland impacts. Significantly, the historical procedure to assessing mitigation sequence still applies to all projects (i.e., avoid, minimize, and compensate).

Where can I get a copy of the new rule?

AVID Environmental Services encourages our clients and potential clients to call staff to discuss project impacts. Consultation charettes are also available at any one of our Florida offices to discuss how these changes to wetland permitting may affect your projects schedules and pro forma.

Contact either Mr. Adam Zions, Environmental Manager, at 727-789-9500, or Mr. Kevin Songer, JD, LEED® AP, ISA at 904-737-4100 for further details.

The new Compensatory Mitigation Rule is on-line at: http://www.usace.army.mil/cw/cecwo/reg/citizen.htm or http://www.epa.gov/wetlandsmitigation