FPL solar plans expanding
5,000 acres to be pegged for solar panels
ARCADIA — Florida Power & Light’s plans to expand its solar power-generating capacity will be one step closer Tuesday night if the DeSoto County Commission approves the land-use designation for a 5,100-plus-acre plot.
FPL is seeking to have 5,162 acres east of U.S. 17, about a mile south of the DeSoto/Hardee border, changed on the county’s Future Land Use map from Rural Agricultural to Electrical Generating Facility.
The application states the facility eventually will include an array of solar power-generating panels, along with associated amenities such as parking areas, a visitors center, storage and security fencing.
No more than 65 percent of the site would be occupied by the solar panels and related facilities, with a minimum of 35 percent of the property devoted to open space.
The Planning Commission said the proposal is consistent with the county’s Comprehensive Plan and recommended it be approved.
Another planning application, however, was recommended for denial. An application was filed to designate a 108-acre property, near the northwest corner of the U.S. 17 and County Road 761 intersection, as a Community Development District. CDDs are authorized by state law, but the planning department recommended denial for several reasons.
Among them is the fact that the applicant reserved sewer and water capacity for only 10 residential equivalents; whereas much greater capacity likely is needed for this size property. If the applicant does not secure the extra capacity, and later that capacity is no longer available, then the developer could be forced to provide its own water and sewer utilities.
There are also questions as to whether the property is large enough to serve as a CDD, which in some ways functions like a mini-government, providing utilities and transportation to and assessing property and special taxes from the occupants.
In other business, commissioners are expected to address:
* Submitting a waste tire permit application to the state in order to continue collecting waste tires at the county landfill.
* Reducing the speed limit on Senate Avenue from 45 mph to 35 mph, partly because of complaints about speeding dump trucks.
* Awarding a contract to Comanco Environmental Corp. for closure of Zone 2 and part of Zone 3 at the county landfill.
* A resolution to create a Municipal Services Benefit Unit for Kings Ranch Town Center, encompassing 26 parcels on the west side of Kings Highway (County Road 769), in the vicinity of B&R Ranch Road and Jernigan Street. This would set the stage for the county to begin planning to bring water and sewer to that area.
The County Commission meets at 3 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the County Administration Building, 201 E. Oak St., Arcadia.
The county also will hold a final budget hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for adoption of the 2009/2010 budget.
By SUSAN E. HOFFMAN
DeSoto Assistant Editor