CLEWISTON, FL. -- Two of Southwest Florida's larges agricultural enterprises, U.S. Sugar and Hilliard Brothers are combining forces to try to persuade Hendry County officials of the benefits of the largest Master Planning of land ever in Hendry county.
The two companies are seeking to get 43,313 acres owned by the two under jurisdiction of a sector plan, otherwise known as a master plan under a law passed in Florida in 2011, Section 163,3245 of the Florida Statutes.
The broadly spread out mostly sugar cane and pasture lands are located in eastern Hendry county both west and south of the city of Clewiston
Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 7207 on June 2, 2011, which is the bill that makes the largest number of changes to Florida’s growth management statutes (and administrative rules) ever. This bill, with several others, makes the broadest and most significant changes to Florida’s growth management/planning/land development statutes seen in over twenty-five years.
The sector plan application was made to the county planning and zoning department in January 2014, and the first official public hearing on the massive proposal will be Wednesday, August 13, 2014 before the volunteer Local Planning Agency at the Hendry Courthouse, hearing arguments and then deciding to recommend or not to the Hendry Board of Commissioners who will hear the issue at their public meeting on August 26, at 5:05 p.m. in Commission Chambers.
Trouble And Objections Ahead?
There appeared to be several either clever tactics or mistakes by US Sugar and Hilliard in it's required notice to land owners abutting the 43,313 acres. Notices by certified mail were mailed at the last minute and there may be many who were not notified in time to protect their rights at the public hearings or the opportunity to opt out of the master plan if allowed.
Public notices in newspapers also show conflicting locations for the public hearings. Notices mailed to land owners show a meeting August 26 in LaBelle, while newspaper notices say the meeting is in Clewiston.
The notices mailed also do not give any details whatsoever about what a sector plan is or what US Sugar and Hilliard plan to do, other than an enclosed map of the "Sugar Hill Sector Plan."