Cascades Meets With Army Corp Of Engineers Regarding Lake Bellwood - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/24/08 - Tyler

Cascades Meets With Army Corp Of Engineers Regarding Lake Bellwood

City of Tyler officials met with Army Corps of Engineers representatives on Feb. 29 to discuss a potential violation of federal law related to development activities by Cascades developer Cascades, Ltd. in the vicinity of Lake Bellwood.

The Cascades did not obtain permits that may have been required from the Corps and the State of Texas, and the City believes that the Cascades has acted beyond the scope of its permission to use Lake Bellwood by engaging in clear-cutting and dredging of City property that does not include the lake.  

The meeting with the Corps was initiated by the City at the advisement of the City Council following several months of discussions between the City and developer Cascades, Ltd. The dispute arose when the Cascades engaged in clear cutting activities on City property and dredged an area that could be considered wetlands, protected by federal law. 

Discussions between Cascades, Ltd. and the City of Tyler have been underway since May 2007 in an attempt to obtain explanation and any justification Cascades may have for its actions.  In the absence of a Corps permit and an acceptable explanation and detailed plan for continued development, the City believed that it was necessary to bring the issue to the attention of the Army Corps of Engineers, who has jurisdiction over wetlands.

"Our investigation showed that trees on City property were cut down, in addition to the dredging of City property that is not part of Lake Bellwood ," said Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber.  "The contractor did not request permits from the City, the State of Texas or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for either activity. The damages and potential liability to the City is something that cannot be ignored. Bringing this to the attention of the Army Corps of Engineers was our responsibility and one we take very seriously."

The Army Corps of Engineers will now investigate the matter to determine its jurisdiction and whether it appears a violation of federal law occurred. The Corps will also conduct a forensic examination to determine if the area in question was wetlands and determine what permitting, restoration and mitigation may be necessary.

Cathryn Khalil, reporting.

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