Seminole County Commission
Seminole County commissioners expressed concerns about JPMorgan Chase’s proposal to remove 88 large shade trees from an office parking lot off International Parkway to make way for dozens of solar panel canopies.
This is out of Character With the Heathrow Area
“I feel like this is sort of out of character with International Parkway.” Commissioner Amy Lockhart said. “It would be completely different from anything in that area… Someone of that organization would have to pretty aggressively defend this request.”
The solar panels eventually would feed electrical power to the company’s office building at 550 International Parkway in the Heathrow International Business Center, according to plans. Wehicles would be able to park underneath the solar panels.
JPMogan’s request scheduled to be heard Tuesday, but company officials needed more time to work with Seminole staff to come up with a plan to compensate the county for removing so many trees, many more than 40 feet tall. The tree removal request was delayed until Sept. 24.
JP Morgan officials said the trees need to be axed to set up solar panels as part of the company’s two-year initiative that all of its buildings in more than 60 countries to be completely dependent on renewable energy.
Commissioners lauded JPMorgan for developing such an earth-friendly plan. However, they said it may not be worth removing trees in such a scenic area to accomplish that goal.
“What happens if they feel in the future that it’s not profitable?” Commissioner Bob Dallari asked. “Does it just turn into a covered parking lot?”
JPMorgan submitted a similar application to the city of Lake Mary for its adjacent property at 600 Business Center Drive. That application calls for the removal of 62 trees for solar panel canopies on that lot. That application will likely not be heard for several more weeks, city officials said.
Both of JP Morgans proposals are short-sighted and driven by a green washing agenda. For JP Morgan it’s more about the optics and speed to complete their projects than any actual environmental benefits.
I live in the City of Altamonte Springs, a few miles south of Lake Mary. In 2017 City Commissioners approved the creation of the Altamonte Electric Utility. The primary goal of the AEU is to self-power City facilities. Altamonte’s first renewable energy project will accomplish this. Without cutting down a single tree.
The AEU is installing a one megawatt floating solar array to accomplish their goal. The array, floats above an existing stormwater retention pond and will supply power to the City starting in 2021. Made of 2,430 solar panels, Altamonte’s solar array is the largest in Florida and the second largest in the United States.
You’ll notice that large retention ponds surround JP Morgan’s buildings in Heathrow. Too bad they could not come up with a solution as innovative and environmentally friendly as the Altamonte City Commissioners did…..