Friday, June 14, 2013

FPL Electric Power Plant Back To Square One?

Seminole Tribe Wins Court Appeal - Stalling Power Plant
CLEWISTON, FL. -- In an effort to stop the construction of a Florida Power And Light generating plant in Hendry county, Florida, the Seminole Tribe of Florida Wednesday won a reversal opinion in an appellate court this week.

The Tribe filed an appeal against a prior court ruling in favor of Hendry County, Florida Power & Light Co. and McDaniel Reserve Realty Holdings. LLC which rezoned thousands of acres of farmland.

McDaniel Reserve had asked Hendry County to rezone 3.123 acres of agricultural land in southern Hendry county adjacent to the Seminole Tribe's reservation land an received the rezoning asked for. The ultimate plan was for McDaniel to sell it to FPL which intended to build a power plant.

In May 2011, at McDaniel's request, the County passed Ordinance 2011-07, which rezoned eleven parcels of land (3123 acres) from general agricultural use to a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The sole purpose of the rezoning ordinance was to allow construction of an electric power plant on the land.

McDaniel subsequently sold the land to Florida Power & Light Company, which could then build a power plant.

The Tribe filed a complaint for declaratory relief to challenge the County's enactment of the ordinance, perceived as inconsistent with the County's comprehensive plan. The Tribe's complaint alleged that the rezoning decision was inconsistent with the County's comprehensive plan.

At the first trial, when the Tribe contested the zoning, the circuit court said that the issue should be considered under the state Power Plant Siting Act, not under laws that deal with local growth plans. But the appeals court said FPL had not even applied for approval of the site under the state power-plant act, and, as a result, the act should not "preempt" the growth laws.

The issue will now return to the Circuit Court for reconsideration.

Read the Court Opinion here.

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