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Babcock may someday connect Charlotte, Cape

By Staff | May 15, 2010

Officials from Babcock Ranch say they have not yet cleared necessary legislative hurdles to start construction on a massive solar energy plant that will one day fuel the proposed development.
Dubbed a “futuristic city” by the project’s developers, Kitson and Partners, the community is envisioned as being powered entirely by the sun, from the homes to the businesses to different modes of transportation, fueled by scattered “solar charging stations” throughout.
That vision, in its entirety, is still three and a half decades from completion, according to Tom Danahy, president of Kitson Babcock.
While they have not yet obtained the legislative go-ahead, Danahy said the project will continue.
“We’re not stopped yet,” he said. “We’re continuing to move ahead.”
The community of Babcock Ranch, when completed, will boast 19,500 homes and six million square feet of commercial space.
Gary Nelson, vice president of planning and development for Kitson Babcock, said the community will not cater exclusively to the wealthy and privileged. For the community to be viable, Nelson said, it will take all kinds.
“We really have to attract a little of everybody,” Nelson said. “Any level of job, from an executive to services, will have a place and have a home.”
The community will no doubt have trouble navigating the governments of two separate counties, as the southern portion of the plan will fall across the Charlotte County line into Lee County.
Ten to 15 percent of the entire Babcock Ranch area is in Lee, though only a small portion of that percentage is the planned community itself.
Danahy said they’ve encountered “difficulty” dealing with the Lee Board of County Commissioners, while Nelson said that Charlotte County has been more receptive because of the job creation.
Another potential problem are roadways, as a new east-west road will have to be constructed across county lines.
Nelson said that road, as it’s being envisioned, will eventually lead straight to Cape Coral.
“Our gut feeling is that it would go through Charlotte County and come down to connect with the Del Prado extension,” Nelson said.