CalAtlantic wants to build on a former power-plant site in Palmetto Bay

But the village council put a moratorium on approvals of site plans for the 69-acre property

The former site of an FPL power plant in Palmetto Bay
The former site of an FPL power plant in Palmetto Bay

CalAtlantic Homes wants to build 600 residences and a marina on the former site of a power plant in the village of Palmetto Bay. But the village council has put a moratorium on approvals of any new site plans for the site, formerly occupied by a Florida Power & Light (FPL) plant.

CalAtlantic’s interest in the former power-plant site reflects the scarcity of vacant land in South Florida for large-scale residential development, which has led home builders to redevelop such properties as golf courses and polo fields.

In 2013, the 69-acre FPL site in Palmetto Bay was marketed for sale with an asking price of $60 million, and CalAtlantic’s corporate predecessor, Standard Pacific Homes, tried to buy it. But the discovery of contaminated soil at the site prevented FPL from selling it. An analysis of the FPL site found high levels of arsenic and vanadium in the soil.

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Wilbur Mayorga, who runs Miami-Dade County’s environmental monitoring and restoration division, told the Miami Herald that development the FPL site would require its owner to clean the contaminated soil.

Palmetto Bay’s village council approved a 120-day moratorium on approval of plans to develop the FPL site. Council members will consider rezoning it during the moratorium. Most of the land is zoned for industrial development and part of it for single-family home construction.

CalAtlantic subsequently proposed a site plan consisting of 45 single-family homes, 167 townhouses and 388 condos, plus a marina. Whether CalAtlantic has a contract to buy the land from FPL is unclear. The utility declined to comment, and the home builder did not return phone calls from the Miami Herald.

The FPL site, known as Cutler Plantation, is located between Biscayne Bay and Old Cutler Road, which is so congested that Palmetto Bay’s village council voted this month to limit the impact of multi-unit residential development on the road’s traffic load. [Miami Herald]Mike Seemuth