Solar canopy built in wrong spot, must come down

- Solar panels are meant to save money and provide energy, but people in Venice tell the city a new solar canopy is too much of an eyesore - and needs to come down.

It was built in the parking lot of the Venice Community Center. The large piece of metal has people giving the city a piece of their mind. One resident likened it to a monkey cage. 

There were good intentions behind the eyesore. Florida Power and Light asked the city of Venice to partner up and build the solar canopy. All the city had to do was provide a parking lot.

"This was their opportunity to highlight an expanded use of solar energy, where it could be used for shaded parking and have the benefit of green energy creation," said Kathleen Weeden.

It sounded great on paper. City Council approved it and construction began. A week into the project, city engineer Kathleen Weeden said someone realized it was being built on the wrong spot - 30 feet from where it should have been.

"There was some speculation that someone may have looked at the plan incorrectly. That's between FPL and their contractors," Weeden explained. "Had this been a city project, it would have been highly unlikely this would have happened."

FP&L released a statement to FOX 13 News, stating: 

"We are very disappointed that we were just a few feet off and the city council turned its back on this project and solar energy.  We will respect the council’s orders and work out a schedule to remove the structure and relocate it outside the city of Venice. While we aren’t ready to announce a new location, we are already working with other communities on the west coast that are excited about solar and ourplans to invest a quarter of a million dollars in solar energy in their community."

The city said Florida Power and Light can rebuild in its original, approved location, move it to another spot in the city or just move it out completely. It won't cost the Venice a dime, but FP&L could be looking at $150,000 or more to move the structure.

Neighbors told FOX 13, even if the canopy was constructed in the right location, it's still unpleasing to the eye and blocks the neighborhood's view.

"I said, 'what in the heck is that?' Steve Kimson said. "I thought it was a building. Look at the structure, it's huge.

Steve Kimson and his neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief now that city council said the misplaced canopy must come down.

"I am very happy it's not going to be right there, smack dab in the middle of the parking lot, standing out," said Kimson.

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