LaBELLE — Hendry County commissioners conducted a public hearing Tuesday, March 26, before approving a plan to establish a horticultural waste recycling facility near Felda that will produce 30-50 truckloads of topsoil per day being transported to and from the site when it’s in full operation.
Action had been deferred from the county board’s Feb. 26 meeting on the requested special exception from the Land Development Code because the applicant, Green Waste Solution LLC, requested a delay so the company could work out an agreeable buffer plan with county planning staff.
The property, consisting of 133.5 acres, is at 600 Heritage Road in Felda, just west of the State Road 29 intersection. It is zoned for general agriculture, as are surrounding properties. According to Community Development Director Margaret Emblidge’s staff report, Green Waste Solution’s process “involves the operation of grinding horticultural waste and stockpiling of the ground material, allowing for composting and conversion to topsoil. The finished product is then trucked off-site for bulk sales.”
The applicant had objected to the requirement for buffers but staff would not budge on it, so an acceptable plan had to be worked out, Ms. Emblidge explained.
“We’ve done that,” she told commissioners. “We’re going to work out a phasing plan for the buffers. The first buffer will be along Heritage Road, but from there we’ll go through based on their phasing of their activities.”
Commissioner Darrell Harris wanted to know what the landscaping would consist of, particularly whether there would be any oak trees, and Ms. Emblidge replied, “Nope.”
Chairman Mitchell Wills said he knew that there had not been any public feedback on the plan, adding that he’d spoken to the Felda Community Association president, who said no objections were raised.
There was no public comment during the March 26 hearing, and Ms. Emblidge’s report noted that further details would be presented in the near future because some arrangements regarding possible improvements to Heritage Road, a private roadway, had yet to be addressed through an agreement with the other landowners that will be included in the site development process.
Buffers on the sides of the property will vary because the neighboring agricultural activities cannot be impeded. The adjacent uses include a citrus grove, a harvesting operation and a fish farm.
The Felda Community Association voted to approve the project at a meeting Jan. 21, at which county staff and the applicant presented information. The Local Planning Agency conducted a hearing Feb. 13 and recommended county board approval based on a list of conditions it submitted with a resolution in support. The Hendry commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the project subject to the conditions.
Chris Felker can be reached at email@example.com.