New FPL power poles upsets homeowners

WELLINGTON, Fla. - The first steps are underway to execute a plan to deliver power to homes across Palm Beach County and some homeowners are upset.

The Homeland community is a place that Herman Brenn thought would be perfect for his home. He says he paid $350,000 to buy land where he built a $200,000 home. He then added about $100,000 in landscaping, leveling the earth for an orchard.

"For the peace, tranquility and everything else that goes with living out here," Brenn said.

Florida Power and Light has a 290-foot wide easement in the Homeland community. The easement has been in place since 1969, well before the homes were built.  It runs behind several adjacent properties, some of which have horses, barns, fencing and trees. 

FP&L had built power lines using a small dirt access road that runs near the back of the properties, along a line of trees and a canal.

"I knew there was an easement but we didn't know that we were going to be coming back through behind here.  When I came here there was just two poles here," Brenn said.

Work began Monday to build a new power line and a road to help workers construct and maintain it. The 14-foot wide road will cut through several properties.

FP&L spokesperson Bill Orlove says a new road is necessary to deliver power from the $1.2 billion Riviera Beach power plant.

"We are prepared to enforce our easement rights," Orlove said.

The road's construction would force homeowners to move or destroy horse barns, fencing and trees.

Property Manager John Gifford has helped to construct an expensive series of fences, barns and fields for horses on a nearby property. Dogs, birds, mules and cats live on the property as well. 

"The problem is, you take the building down, what are you going to do with the animals?  Where are they going to live?" Gifford said.

After concerns were raised, FP&L says it offered cash to some homeowners.  Orlove says the offer was intended to ease concerns and move or destroy structures.

"There are eight property owners that we have provided offers to that we believe are very workable, very fair and amicable regarding this situation," Orlove said.

Orlove says four of the residents accepted the offer.

Brenn believes it's unfair that the value of his property could decrease with FP&L's plans and create traffic through his tranquil property.

"You are asking just a few residents to continue to pay all of the costs for saving all of Palm Beach County.  Which is unfair.  That's an unfair policy," he said.




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