Thursday, August 17, 2017  

Jeff Howeth
A Man of the Land  

If you have never needed to hire a civil engineer or land surveyor you may not be aware of the many services they provide. For everyday homeowners, surveyors find and mark property lines and create topographic surveys. For land developers, engineers design subdivisions and roadways and establish water and sewer systems. For environmentalists, engineers create natural resources inventory and management plans and develop storm water pollution prevention plans. For the Department of Transportation, engineers analyze traffic data and highway capacity as well as traffic impact assessments. They serve all levels of government from local to state and federal and offer services such as developing site plans for recreational parks. They work on tree preservation, hydrology and hydraulics systems, feasibility studies, and highway location and design. The list goes on and on. An engineer possesses a wealth of knowledge and can be very helpful in any land use or development plans you may be contemplating.

J. L. Howeth, P.C. is a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering and land surveying firm owned by Jeffrey L. Howeth, Professional Engineer and licensed Land Surveyor. In 1994 Jeff Howeth took his chances and launched his own business venture from his home in Tappahannock. With a main office located in Tappahannock and a second office in Westmoreland County, Howeth’s successful business now has nine employees between the two locations.

Born in Washington, D.C. to the daughter of legendary Captain Faunce, well-known for his seafood business, and son of a career naval veteran, the family moved to Montross when Howeth was two years old. His father had retired with over 20 years of active military duty and was working as a consultant on naval issues for the U.S. Government when he moved his family to Westmoreland County. They moved to the country to lend a hand in the operations of family-owned Captain Faunce Seafood.

Howeth grew up in the seafood business along with his brother who now runs the entire Captain Faunce Seafood operation. It was there he learned business management and marketing that would come in handy down the road. Howeth attended Westmoreland County public schools, graduating from Washington and Lee High School in Montross before entering Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a little push from his mother. While attending Tech, not only did he meet his future bride, but his ambition of self employment was born. Howeth graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1988. From that day forward he would begin building his dream, one step at a time.

Howeth and his wife, Dawn, moved to Tappahannock in 1988. His first engineering job was with a firm in Montross where he cut his teeth and also began learning about local land use and environmental issues. Later, following a near two-year stint with the Virginia State Health Department, Howeth took a bold move and opened his own engineering/land surveying business in a small back room of his home. Though a struggle for the new businessman, the clients came. He says, “From the beginning, my goal has been to determine the highest and best use of land and to maximize its value for my clients, which does not necessarily mean development.”

Howeth eventually outgrew his home office and moved his business to the Ball Realty building in Tappahannock. He remained there for a few years and in 2000 was able to purchase an office in town. He moved his office across Rt. 360, from the Ball Realty building, to its present location at 1125 Elm Street. Then in 2007 he opened his second office at 2833 Cople Highway, in Westmoreland County. Howeth draws clients from Fredericksburg to Richmond, and the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, and surrounding communities. “It’s important for me to remain active and knowledgeable in community land use issues especially in my hometown community” he says.

Howeth’s firm specializes in engineering consultation and land surveying. Howeth says he and his employees are dedicated to “providing clients with economical solutions to their design problems while providing guidance through the regulatory and approval process for each individual situation.”

Howeth offers the following tips for locating an engineer or land surveyor:

  • Ask friends for personal referrals.
  • Search the website www.dpor.virginia.gov for licensed Virginia engineers or land surveyors.
  • Contact engineering and land surveying societies.
  • Talk to local officials and contractors for recommendations.

Before you contact an engineer or land surveyor Howeth suggests that you:

  • Write down what you want to accomplish.
  • Know what the scope of project is.
  • Determine your budget and how soon you need the work completed.

When meeting with a potential engineer or surveyor, listen carefully to the professional and take notes. Ask if they have experience with projects similar to yours and if they can make suggestions that would make your project more appealing or cut costs. Be sure to ask for references and check them thoroughly before hiring anyone. Inquire about local environmental conditions that would modify your plans and ask about any and all permits that may need to be purchased and who is responsible for purchasing them. Be sure to nail down exact costs and get a proposal in writing.

As a consumer, it is your responsibility to choose the professional who is educated and knowledgeable about all the requirements for your project. “Make your choice based on experience, qualifications and commitment, more so than the upfront price,” Howeth recommends. He also says, “Some projects may not require a licensed engineer or surveyor, though your project could benefit greatly from the expertise of a professional.” He adds, “that a knowledgeable engineer can also save a client substantial money before and during construction.”

There is a long list of services that Howeth and his professionally trained staff are able to provide to home and business owners. Howeth says, “Our firm also provides engineering management services for all of our construction and survey related projects, to ensure compliance with the projects plans and specifications.” He also boasts that he has a thoroughly trained environmental staff that is on top of local, state and federal guidelines to help channel clients toward achieving their maximum land use goals.

Services provided by J.L. Howeth, P.C. are: site plans, subdivision plans, road plans, public improvement plans, engineering reports and feasibility studies, storm water management and Best Management Practice (BMP), plans for Chesapeake Bay Act compliance, floodplain and storm drainage studies, hydrology and hydraulics, state required storm water pollution prevention (SWPPP) plans and permits, water distribution systems, storm and sanitary sewer design, sanitary pump stations, construction inspections, construction cost estimating and permit coordination, dam design and certification, urban renewal/redevelopment and expert testimony.

Howeth offers many elements of comprehensive civil engineering services to potential clients. The licensed engineers and surveyors can walk an entire project through planning and zoning, preliminary design, mapping/platting and ultimately to the final design concept. Howeth’s firm will follow your project all the way to completion by providing construction support through plan clarification, coordinating with the contractor and field surveyors and, if needed, plan revisions.

His expertise also includes street and roadway design, sewer and water utilities design, storm drainage improvements, flood plan studies, specialized hydrologic analysis and hydraulic computations and storm water management/BMP facility design. He and his staff have planned and designed libraries, public safety centers, recreational facilities, educational facilities, wetland mitigation, and natural resource plans at the municipal, state and federal levels.

“We also have plenty of experience working single-lot estates, town homes, multi-family units and individual lot subdivisions where the subdivision utilizes either public water and sewer or private wells and on-site wastewater systems,” stated Howeth. In the commercial sector they have designed and planned office parks, retail/shopping centers, industrial sites, medical facilities, daycare facilities, private schools, community buildings and high-tech facilities.

Services provided are: boundary surveys, mortgage surveys, topographic surveys, American Land Title Association (ALTA) surveys, horizontal and vertical control surveys, wetland surveys, As-Built surveys, FEMA elevation (flood) certificates, subdivision and easement plats, legal descriptions, bathymetric surveys and construction stakeout.

Licensed land surveyors have many duties including: retracing property lines and performing boundary line adjustments, preparing legal descriptions and maps for subdividing properties, searching for and replacing lost or obliterated property corners or just retracing property lines for fencing, etc., determining boundary discrepancies, relocating or reestablishing boundary lines for parcels, right-of-ways or easements, determining contours of the earth’s surface in preparing topographic maps, preparing subdivision maps and performing construction surveys and staking improvements for construction purposes.

Howeth and his team offer total land surveying services to meet your every need. As a licensed land surveyor, utilizing survey technicians and field personnel, they are able to offer services to both the everyday landowner and real estate developer as well as local, state and federal agencies.

His offices utilize state of the art software, electronic total stations, data collectors, Static Global Positioning (GPS) systems and top notch employees skilled in each aspect of the business.

Services provided are: conceptual site and land plans, preliminary engineering plans, feasibility studies, master planning, site analysis, zoning applications/permits/plans, preliminary engineering, schematic design, design development, recreational park planning and design, tree preservation plans and construction documentation.

Howeth describes his team as very dedicated to land planning. While providing land development services to all of his clients be it an individual land owner, a commercial real estate developer, or local, state or federal agencies, they provide the skills to walk you through the entire project. Howeth says “We possess the know-how to assist our clients from the beginning with the land acquisition. Then we follow with the schematic design, preliminary engineering and construction documentation phases for each project” all the while paying particular attention to their relationship with the environment. Aesthetics and functionality of the site, buildings, or home are just as important.

J. L. Howeth, P.C. continues to be involved in regional, state and local issues in transportation, zoning, and environmental planning. This in turn, allows them to remain on the cutting edge of community planning with new and innovative ideas for environmentally friendly improvements. They are regularly involved in public hearings, public testimonies and assorted committees akin to the development of zoning and land development regulations in the area. This is an important aspect of Howeth’s job and he says he enjoys it immensely. “It’s important to keep up with issues that can have a large impact on my community and neighbors,” he says.

Services provided are: traffic impact studies, commercial entrance design, road design, and traffic engineering. Howeth and his workforce are experienced at designing subdivisions, local streets and commercial entrances. The Department of Transportation requires traffic impact assessments and Chapter 527 studies for major developers and Howeth is capable of completing this work for them. When it comes to areas of traffic engineering, his fully trained team is helpful to the localities they work with by providing traffic data collection, traffic signal analysis and turn lane warrant analysis, along with highway capacity and level of service analysis.

Services provided by J. L. Howeth, P.C. are: water treatment and supply design, wastewater treatment and disposal design, wetland delineation, permitting and design, wetland impact studies and permits, dam inspections and certifications, soils, hydrology and vegetation analysis, Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area (RPA) assessment and exception requests, Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) storm water pollution prevention plans, natural resources inventory and management plans, low impact development plans and sub-meter GIS mapping.

Howeth employs a thoroughly trained environmental staff that is capable of providing a full range of environmental and wetland services to potential clients. Beginning with the earliest studies, to completing the final design and concluding with the construction, their knowledge can be invaluable to their clients. He adds, “Our experience includes wetland delineation, permitting and design, preparation of environmental assessments, VSMP permits and storm water plans.” In addition, “we have worked on Chesapeake Bay delineations and water quality impact assessments, including stream restoration plans, to better our environment,” Howeth says.

Services provided are: marina pump out facilities, pier plans and permits, riprap plans and permits, shoreline stabilization projects, boat ramp designs, bank stabilization and grading designs.

Howeth and his staff are educated in many marine/water projects. They are able to engineer shoreline projects that include designing jetties, groins, timber and vinyl bulkheads, riprap revetments, bank stabilization and grading designs. All of this is done in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines on shoreline stabilization mandates. They are well versed in the Chesapeake Bay Act and are proficient in directing landowners, public and private, in the proper direction to protect the environment while accomplishing the project at hand, be it large or small. They are educated about the permits that must be obtained and what is and is not allowed on the waterways. Howeth will even represent potential projects that must be approved before the local Wetlands Boards and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission for clients. He is able to explain the process each step of the way to the client. “My staff of trained professionals is always able to accomplish tasks in an effective and efficient manner,” he says.

It is clear that Jeff Howeth and his employees have a wealth of knowledge to help their clients not only with civil engineering, but also in many aspects of land planning, surveying, development, environmental protection and more. Howeth truly enjoys his occupation and has chosen a career path that he is passionate about. He cares about people, his profession, his employees and the land he is hired to evaluate. It's imperative in today's economy to hire trained, skilled professionals that are knowledgeable in their field of expertise and not to just look at the bottom line. It’s apparent that the people at J. L. Howeth, P.C. are up to the task when it comes to serving our community in a qualified manner and are capable of meeting all your property needs.

For more information or to discuss a potential project with Jeff Howeth, please call (804) 443-6367 to set up an appointment or visit his website www.jlhowethpc.com.

Jeff, and his wife Dawn, live in the town of Tappahannock and have a twelve year old son, Robbie. Dawn is an exceptionally talented photographer and a Pre-K 5 aide at Aylett Country Day School, where Robbie is in the seventh grade. As a family they enjoy fishing, traveling, sports and spending quality time together.