Landscaping business seeks permit to fill wetland area in Silverthorne

A map shows Neils Lunceford’s project area on Adams Avenue in Silverthorne, including the proposed red flagged wetland fault area.
Map from the US Army Corps of Engineers

Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company based in Silverthorne, hopes to get more of its recently acquired property by replenishing wetlands in the area.

Neils Lunceford moved from its old location to property at 981 Adams Ave. in October 2019. behind the dealership Groove Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram around. However, CEO and President Jeffrey Lunceford said the company can currently only use about 3 acres of the 10-acre property due to the presence of wetlands on the property. The company’s previous property was approximately 12 hectares. As a result, the company has applied for a permit to use more of the new property by leveling and filling in approximately one hectare of wetland land.

Lunceford stated that the company operates in two locations: the main kindergarten across from Target and an area that stores bulk materials and on the company’s service side. In 2019, the company lost its lease at its operating location and purchased the Adams Avenue property.

Lunceford said disrupting the wetland would allow the company to continue operating in Summit County. He said day-to-day operations, such as employee parking for about 80 vehicles and housing machines and other materials, had been challenging on the smaller site.

The company is in a permit process with the Army Corps of Engineers to fill some of the wetlands on the property.

“There will be wetlands that will stay on the property,” said Lunceford. “What we are doing is the flat spaces that we will level out so that we can use them for our operations. And then we go through the whole mitigation process for which we don’t have final figures yet. The (Army Corps) actually mandates that … for whatever we disturb, we buy wetlands from a wetland bank to make up for it. “

The idea is that as it is causing the wetland disruption, Neils Lunceford is buying a certain amount of wetland elsewhere that will not be disrupted.

The town of Frisco undertook a similar land swap when it disrupted 1.03 acres of wetlands at the reservoir’s edge for a marina project. As a result, the city dedicated the Meadow Creek protection measure, which will be permanently protected from development.

Public comments on the Neils Lunceford Project will be used by the Amy Corps in deciding whether to grant, amend, or deny approval, and whether to hold a public hearing.

The public notice states that the proposed activity will include “leveling and surfacing the site with an appropriate infill for landscaping operations and smaller building structures”. The development will permanently affect 1.23 acres of wetland and fill 562 feet of a drainage canal.

The announcement states that Neils Lunceford has proposed acquiring 4-1 wetland mitigation credits from Finger Rock Preserve, an Army Corps-approved wetland mitigation bank in southern Routt County. The application will be assessed according to the Clean Water Act.

Written comments can be submitted to the office of Tyler R. Adams, Project Manager, until February 5th. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District; Colorado West Regulatory Section, 400 Rood Ave., Room 224; Grand Junction, CO 81501.

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