HENDRY COUNTY, FL. -- The following is a highlight of the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, March 14 at Clewiston City Hall including hearing on FP&L's applications for electrical generating facilities and a 957 acre solar energy center.
· Text Amendments to the Hendry County Comprehensive Plan (CP): For more than a year the Hendry County Planning and Community Development Department has been working on changes to the CP. These changes include creating a user friendly document for the public by moving the data and analysis portions to a separate document. The document also takes all of the CP amendments over the past few years and adds them in the correct order and place, which required renumbering the entire document. The BOCC approved adoption.
· CPA 16-003 & CPA16-004: Applicant requested amending the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element text to add a sub-area policy, and to amend the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map by changing the land use from Agriculture (AG) to Electrical Generating Facility (EGF). The applicant, Florida Power and Light (FP&L), made a presentation about the project: Hammock Solar Energy Center. The center, located in LaBelle, will be a 957 acre unmanned solar energy center. The facility will generate the equivalent of powering 15,000 homes. Construction will last approximately 6-10 months and create 200 jobs. The center is expected to open in First Quarter (Q1) 2018. The BOCC approved submittal to the State for review.
· CPA16-006 & CPA16-007: Applicant requested a Text Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element to amend the Electrical Generating Facility access location standard, add a specific sub-area policy to allow solar powered facilities, and change the future land use designation from Agriculture (AG) to Electrical Generating Facility (EGF). The applicant, Florida Power and Light (FP&L), made a presentation about the project: Hendry Clean Energy Center. The project will keep over 50% of the acreage in conservation; the remaining portions will be utilized for solar power, and a natural gas power plant. Construction is expected to take 11 years and create 185 jobs each year. The project is estimated to generate $31.8 million in ad valorem taxes each year when in operation at build out. The BOCC approved submittal to the State for review.
· Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Application: ATIO USA, LLC, an advanced aluminum smelting operation, has brought forth a proposition to bring their manufacturing and headquarters operation to the City of Clewiston. The project includes a projected $25.778 million dollar capital investment, the hiring of 39 employees over a one year period carrying an average annual wage of $46,377 and would commence within 6 months. The BOCC approved staff to develop an ordinance causing an Ad Valorem Tax Exemption of 5 years maximum, with a sliding scale tax abetment consisting of 40% year 1, 30% year 2, 20% year 3, and 10% the remaining 2 years. The ordinance must comply with public advertising requirement and will be scheduled for a public hearing at the Tuesday, April 11, 2017 Board of County Commissioner’s meeting at 5pmin Clewiston City Hall. If the Board approves the ordinance the tax abatement will be awarded.
· East Recreation MSBU Summer Camp MOU with YMCA and Approval to Hire a Par Time as Needed Summer Camp Counselor. The BOCC approved the MOU with YMCA to host a 10 week summer camp located in Harlem for $35 per child per week and the hiring of a Camp Counselor for the 13-18 year old camp in Harlem. The camp is open to all youth of Hendry County, and scholarships for those in need may be available. The YMCA camp includes meals for youth, weekly field trips, swimming lessons and other amenities.