Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant

Opposed to the TECO solar plant

As a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.

The solar plant will be .2 miles from my home. It will run 1.4 miles north-to-south and be on both sides of Blanton Road at various locations — literally overwhelming that beautiful area. The plant will obstruct long-established view sheds. Existing property owners in the area will have a solar plant either in their front yards or at their property lines.

The solar plant was approved by the Pasco County Planning Commission on April 9. I understand it is slated for Pasco County Commission action on June 5 in Dade City.

In their approval, the Planning Commission accepted the recommendation from the planning staff that a special exception applied, as this development was a sub-station. Also, that the solar panels (470,000 panels) would be an accessory to the sub-station.

In my opinion, logic was defied in this process as a sub-station cannot do anything by itself. It needs the solar panels, and the solar panels need the land. The land is zoned agricultural. What was approved was an industrial electrical generating plant, which is not allowed under the current zoning. Further, a close reading of Florida’s Right to Farm Act gives no relief to an interpretation that a solar farm is an agricultural activity.

Some have argued that by not allowing the owner(s) of the land this approval, their property rights are being taken from them. I do not want to have anyone’s rights infringed, but I think it is fair to ask that the existing land development code and comprehensive land use plan be followed.

My last comment relates to the uniqueness of this particular rural land. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated — with its beautiful rolling hills, mature oaks, wetland and wildlife. It is a rare site in Florida.

This is not a case of "not in my backyard." This industrial development does not belong in this location. No one out here is arguing against the efficacy of renewable resources.

Please note that hearings are now scheduled with the Board of County Commissioners to consider changing the land development code to allow "solar farms" anywhere in the county on land designated for agriculture. This is a broad issue which needs careful thought and consideration.

Charles D. Ashford, Dade City


Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18