FPL solar canopy built in wrong spot at Venice Community Center

A Venice construction project went badly awry.

Venice, Florida -- A first for Florida Power & Light here on the west coast and it turns into one big and possibly costly mistake.

A solar panel canopy doubling as shaded parking in Venice goes up as planned -- except the contractor built it in the wrong spot and homeowners are furious.

Venice City Council members will hold a public hearing tonight to resolve the canopy issue.

“We love this community. We love this park.” Except Scott Woodman and many in this historic Venice neighborhood hate the solar canopy built by FPL. He lives right across from it.

Woodman says, “As you walk across it’s extremely visible disturbing to look at so large.”

It’s also in the wrong place. “We find it impossible to believe these people who are professionals they should be able to read a site plan,” says Janine Joyner, homeowner.

The solar canopy is in the right parking lot at the Venice Community Center but missed its spot by 65 feet.  City Engineer Kathleen Weeden spotted the mistake during a site visit.

“The lease agreement, this document here, shows it’s in the island closer to the community center. In here it’s built in the next island over,” said Weeden.

  So who messed up? When FPL’s surveyor drew up the site plan the location shifted.

Weeden says, “We don’t know how it happened, if someone directed the contractor or surveyor to modify the location a clerical error.”

The city’s building department approved that final but incorrect site plan, but Weeden says, they didn’t verify the originally approved site. She says, “That wouldn’t be a normal procedure for building permit review.”

FPL has offered to add trees to hide the canopy from homeowners'  views on the south side but Woodman says that will block their view of the park.

Joyner says, “It still will be visible to the visitors of Venice, it’ll still be ugly.”

 The cost to demolish the canopy is $160,000.

“We’re talking about a multibillion-dollar company, for profit, this is nothing to them,” says Woodman.

The lease is for 30 years. Woddman says, “We have to look at this, live with this.”

10News WTSP reached out to FP&L but have not heard back.

Venice City Council will hold a public hearing tonight and is expected to decide what to do next with the solar canopy keep it or have FP&L remove it.


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