LAKE ALFRED – The proposed TECO solar farm will be back on the agenda during Monday night’s City Commission and with some optimism.
The commission voted 4-1 on the first reading earlier this month to accept a land-use amendment that did not allow TECO to build the solar farm on 300 acres of orange grove property owned by Berry Groves. Back in 2005, the city reached a development agreement with the property owner to build 750 homes on the property.
“We’re not anti-green or anti-solar,” City Manager Ryan Leavengood said. “It’s more of how does this fit the long-term growth of the city?”
Commissioner John Duncan was the lone dissenter during the Nov. 6 meeting. Duncan said the city’s residents were in favor of the solar farm rather than more homes. The property, currently zoned low-density residential, is located in a rural area along Cass Road and Old Lake Alfred Road, west of County Road 557.
TECO is planning to build 10 solar farms in West Central Florida over the next four years. Those farms would generate enough energy to power 100,000 homes. Leavengood said his concern is that if more than one were built in Lake Alfred, there may be little room for future residential development.
Jack Berry, the property owner, said he was told by TECO earlier this week that the electric company would rescind its proposal and not build in Lake Alfred. Berry said he, TECO and the city manager were involved in productive conversation Friday and think it could be done. A spokeswoman for TECO could not be reached for comment. [click for full story]