TO: DEQ-DWR-Wetlands-Public Listserv
FROM: Katie Merritt, 401 & Buffer Permitting Branch
RE: Notice of Complete Application and Finding of Fact for Authorization Certificate with Major Exception pursuant to Neuse River Riparian Area Protection Rules - 15A NCAC 02B .0714 and 15A NCAC 02B .0611
PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that on November 2, 2022, a request was received by the Division of Water Resources to grant a Major Exception from the Neuse Riparian Area Protection Rules (15A NCAC 02B .0714 and 15A NCAC 02B .0611) to Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical Industries, LP (3612 Powhatan Rd, Clayton, NC) for the expansion of an existing pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. The proposed project would permanently impact 95,793.6 square feet of Zone 1 of the buffer and 63,862.4 square feet of Zone 2 of the buffer. To mitigate the buffer impact in accordance with 15A NCAC 02B .0611 (b)(1)(I), the applicant proposes to purchase riparian buffer credits from a private mitigation bank or the Division of Mitigation Services.
Based on the information submitted, the Division of Water Resources provides the below preliminary findings pursuant to 15A NCAC 02B .0611 (c)(3)(C). DWR proposes to take final action on the application February 14, 2021.
Preliminary findings pursuant to 15A NCAC 02B .0611 (b)(2) and (c)(1)
The applicant has demonstrated to the Division’s satisfaction that the project meets all the criteria specified in 15A NCAC 02B .0611 (b)(2).
The Division finds the following pursuant to 15A NCAC 02B .0611 (c)(1).
(A) There are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships that prevent compliance with the riparian buffer protection requirements.
The Division believes that the proposed facility expansion is not possible without impacting the riparian buffer. The property is bounded by established transportation corridors and streams bisect the middle of the remaining property.
(B) If the applicant complies with the provisions of this Rule, he or she can secure no reasonable return from, nor make reasonable use of, his or her property. Merely proving that the Authorization Certificate with Exception would allow a greater profit from the property shall not be considered adequate justification for an Authorization Certificate with Exception.
The Division believes that adherence to the rule would prevent the necessary expansion to the facility. Food and Drug Administration rules dictate procedural processes to keep products aseptic and ensuring reliable manufacturing processes. The streams and buffers bisect the only remaining area feasible for expansion of the site.
Moreover, the Authority shall consider whether the Authorization Certificate with Exception is the minimum possible deviation from the terms of this Rule that shall make reasonable use of the property possible;
The Division believes the proposal is the minimum deviation from the rule to meet expansion needs.
(C) The hardship is due to the physical nature of the applicant's property, such as its size, shape or topography;
The hardship is due to physical nature of property, specifically the site is bound on three sides by transportation infrastructure, which limits expansion opportunities.
(D) The applicant did not cause the hardship;
The applicant did not cause the hardship.
(E) The requested Authorization Certificate with Exception is in harmony with the general spirit purpose and intent of the State's riparian buffer protection requirements, will protect water quality, will secure public safety and welfare, and will preserve substantial justice.
Mitigation for buffer impacts will be satisfied through the purchase of credit from private mitigation bank and/or Division of Mitigation Services in compliance with 15A NCAC 02B .0714(12) and .0295. Stormwater management will be addressed in compliance with the City of Clayton’s delegated program. Stream impacts are subject to Section 401 Water Quality Certification which will ensure standard compliance. Due to these factors the Division believes that the proposal is in harmony with the general spirit and intent of the State's riparian buffer protection requirements, will protect water quality, will secure public safety and welfare, and will preserve substantial justice.
The application is available online at: https://edocs.deq.nc.gov/WaterResources/Browse.aspx?id=2556888&dbid=0&repo=WaterResources
The application is also on file at the DWR Central Office and may be inspected with an appointment between 8 a.m. & 5 p.m. at 512 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC, 27604. For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact Sue Homewood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This notice is available electronically at: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/water-resources/water- quality-permitting/401-buffer-permitting-branch/public-notices