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Land company faces penalties from state
Land company in Stafford facing state fine for wetlands violations, other issues at Oakley Farm site

Date published: 2/4/2013


A land-development company working in Stafford County is facing a fine and mitigation measures for disturbing wetlands and waters at the Oakley Farms site along Poplar Road.

That's according to a consent order between the company, Acacia Credit Fund 10-A, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. A consent order is a voluntary, negotiated agreement between the agency and a responsible party. The State Water Control Board will have final say on the matter.

According to the order, Acacia, a division of Acacia Capital Corp. in California, disturbed nearly an acre of forested wetlands on a 449-acre site and discharged pollutants along 1,265 feet of streams on the property. That finding was the result of an inspection by DEQ in March of last year.

Combined, the encroachments impacted about 1.7 acres, the order states.

Acacia had a permit for certain alterations on the land, and had purchased 1.81 acres of mitigation credits to offset impacts from the project. But no net loss of existing wetland acreage, or impact on surface water, was permitted.

DEQ found other issues: that no pre-construction photographs of the impacted areas were filed and no monitoring reports were received; a required payment to the Virginia Aquatic Resources Fund was not submitted; and the agency had not received documentation that waters outside the impacted area had been surveyed or platted in time.

DEQ issued a notice of violation in March 2010, and met two months later with Acacia to discuss the violations, according to the order.

In November 2011, Acacia's consultant challenged DEQ's figures on the extent of the impacts. The following month, there was a joint meeting on the property, and it was determined that the impact was less. The totals were revised down to 0.2 acres of forested wetlands affected, and 898 feet of streams.

Acacia is facing a fine of $163,592 for the violations. It would pay $99,836 of that within a month after the consent order is finalized.

The remaining $63,756 will go toward a supplemental environmental project on the site. Under the order, Acacia must permanently preserve 38 acres of mature forest that otherwise would have been developed at Oakley Farms.

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431
Email: rdennen@freelancestar.com

You can read the proposed consent order at deq.vir ginia.gov/Programs/En forcement/PublicNotices .aspx, To comment on the proposed consent, email Stephanie.Bellotti@deq.vir ginia.gov through Feb. 28.