Solar plant gets Hendry go ahead

Florida Power and Light will finally get to build a power plant in southern Hendry County.

In fact, the Seminole Tribe of Florida previously won a lawsuit against Hendry County, contending that the original rezoning of the tract was contradictory to the county’s comprehensive plan and not compatible with Hendry County’s zoning. The  board’s unanimous action at the April 12 commission meeting amended the county’s Comprehensive Plan to include an electrical generation facility category and industrial land use category. It changed the county’s Land Use Map designation from agriculture to new electrical generator facility and rezoned the 3,127-acre parcel to Planned Use Development.

The facility will be known as the Hendry Solar Energy Center.

The changes must be approved by the state, which will take 30-45 days.

Florida Power and Light first proposed an electrical plant at that location several years ago and it has been controversial, with the Seminole Tribe and environmentalists very disapproving. At various commission meetings, tribal members were very vocal about their concerns that such a plant would disrupt the wildlife and the general atmosphere of the area, which abuts the Big Cypress Reservation. They cited preservation of their heritage to be of major importance.

FPL cites the need to supply more power to a growing population as the reason for the construction. Although FPL reportedly made an agreement with the Seminole Tribe over the plant, other indigenous tribes have not rescinded their objections.

Patty Brant, can be reached at

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