By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Development Authority heard the details of the recently completed Wetlands Delineation Report on the County Industrial Park at a Special session of the Authorit. Executive Director, Steve Leyh outlined the highlights of the report, as well as the possibility of more useable land than existed on the initial 2005 study and map. “This is what we have always worked off of,” Leyh said. “The idea was we could develop here, develop these, develop this and then eventually work over to that. All that’s out the window.”
The original map of the Industrial Park from 2005 had outlined 12 lots, according to Leyh. “Initially, they had laid out 12 lots for the Industrial Park total,” Leyh said. “Now, obviously these can be cut up into any size, but they identified 12 different lots for the Industrial Park.”
According to Leyh, in the initial 2005 study the Industrial Park had just over 50 acres of land able to be developed with the layout not allowing easy access to the Phase Two properties. “Initially the total number of acreages was 50.42 acres total,” Leyh said. “50 Acres developable.” Of the land in the initial survey, four lots had road access and four in Phase Two did not have any current road access, according to Leyh.
Leyh said there were several lots either in wetlands or impacted by the flood plain. “So, here we are, 2023,” Leyh said. “This was 2005, fast forward to 2023. Lot one, 5.22 acres, completely not useable now. It is wetlands. So, Lot one is now all wetlands. So, forget about it, we’re not moving on it. Lot four is partially impacted by flood plain now and is divided by a wetlands in between. Lot five which is this tiny .43-acre lot, is now completely within the flood plain. And then you come the 2.5 acre lot, which is Lot seven, and it is slightly impacted by the flood plain…Lot three…now has a wetland in the middle of it. So, if you could roll the dice and have the worst possible luck, this is what we’ve got.”
Leyh said the new study changed everything for development of the Industrial Park. “So, here’s the good news, or what I’m calling good news because we need good news,” Leyh said. “The original lot layout in 2005 had 12 lots of roughly 50 developable acres. Half the acreage in 2005 was on the access road and the other half of the acreages was on the far side. The new map changes everything.”
The Wetlands Delineation showed, according to Leyh, that there were over 85 acres of land on the site that could not be developed. “The Industrial Park is 147.28 acres total,” Leyh said. “We have 85.42 acres of that, let’s just round that, 85 acres you cannot develop under any circumstances because of wetlands, most of its wetlands.”
In total, according the Leyh, the Industrial Park has just over 60 acres of land that can be developed. “We have about an acre already developed,” Leyh said. “That leaves us 60 acres left to develop. For those of you that are keeping score on this, of that 60 acres, 60.86 acres, 38.72 of the acres are in what we are calling Phase Two. That leaves 22 acres accessible.”
According to Leyh, the new Wetland Delineation gained the Industrial Park over 10 acres of useable land for development. “Here’s what’s crazy about this,” Leyh said. “The Wetland Delineation we had done in 2023, netted us 10 and a half acres of new land. So we gained.”
Leyh said the biggest change was in the center of the Industrial Park map. “The biggest change between the 2005 map and the 2023 map is this section here in the center between the highway and the Industrial Park Access Road,” Leyh said. “It is no longer a wetland. Its in a flood plane, there’s an elevation change…we lost them to the flood plane in the sense that they are going to have to get raised up.”
According to Leyh, the land gains and new map have given the Authority a new way to access the Phase Two properties. “But, we gained two big things,” Leyh said. “We gained bits of land on these edges on the inside and we gained, which I think is really a game changer, connection to Phase Two. So, 2023, no longer do we have to have the access road come in from the highway, because we can now go straight across…from our road.”
“RK&K said, ‘This is what we recommend,’” Leyh said. “They think that this piece of property… is about one to two feet in the flood plain and if we filled that in, one to two feet, that this could make a nice two acre lot, right as you come in on the inside of the road. Which is pretty important. It’s not going to be as big as our five acre lot, but we’re still going to have two acres right at the intersection which is still going to be a game changer for us.”
According to Leyh, the areas in a flood plane could still be developed if the Authority brought in filler and raised the area out of the flood plain, but the Authority would need the permission of the City of Davis to complete the task. “We would have to get permission from the Town of Davis since they manage the flood plain,” Leyh said. “But you could fill that in and its developable.”
According the Leyh, most of the flood plain lots are one to four feet into the flood plain with the deepest being in the middle at six to seven feet. “This is one to two, this is one to four,” Leyh said. “And these are all pretty much one to two feet. She said the kink in the middle, the middle is deep in at like six or seven feet and she said you don’t want to mess with that anyway because it is going to connect right in.”
Leyh also said that there was a wetland that was not surface connected that could be filled in for more land as well. “The wetland does not connect over here,” Leyh said. “The same is true of this, because of a Supreme Court Decision, this wetland up in here on Lot three, which I thought we were doomed, because it’s not surface connected to the other wetland, because they are not connected, this could be filled in without any problems.”
“So I’m a little bit more optimistic now that I have had a look at this now,” Leyh said., “We also gained…there’s a huge new pink area in the center connecting Lot three with the lots on the other side which we did not have before. That is new, dry, safe land for development so I am encouraged by that.”
Following the Wetlands Delineation Report on the Industrial Park Property, the Tucker County Development Authority authorized Leyh to begin taking the necessary steps to sell and lease the usable property lots within the Industrial Park. In a unanimously approved motion made by Tucker County Development Authority Member Dennis Filler, Leyh would be authorized to pursue land transactions with a 50 percent sale and 50 percent lease of properties within the Phase One area.
The next meeting of the Tucker County Development Authority will be held on September 21st at 6 p.m. at the National Science Center located at 494 Riverstone Road in Davis.