Twelve miles to the northeast, in the planned community of Babcock Ranch, there is some optimism as hurricane-ravaged Fort Myers, Florida, starts its recovery.
There, Syd Kitson and his associates constructed a community they thought would withstand hurricanes and be completely sustainable and ecologically benign.
At Babcock Ranch, Kitson—an environmentally minded developer and former professional football player—stood out the storm. Surprisingly, none of the 5,000 residents there lost electricity throughout the storm.
Kitson said to 60 Minutes journalist Bill Whitaker, “We were in the bullseye.” “I also recall sitting here. The weather was on. And the meteorologist reports that Babcock Ranch is now in the path of this Category 4 storm.”
Not only will it coming to Babcock Ranch, but it will also be there—which is the worst possible location—on the eastern side of the wall, according to Kitson.
What time did the storm pass directly over you? Whitaker enquired.
It took between eight and 10 hours, according to Kitson.
In a video Kitson took on his iPhone at the storm’s peak, the lake had white caps.
“So, as soon as the sun rose the next morning, I got in my vehicle and began driving away. The only damage was a few downed trees and a few roofs with missing shingles,” Kentson said. “I’m done now. Our recuperation took about a day.”
Babcock Ranch was constructed 25 to 30 feet above sea level to assist reduce flooding from storm surges and was intended to meet Florida’s climate and ecosystems with native plants and natural canals for drainage. All phone and power wires are underground, and there are sustainable water and sewage systems.
According to Kitson, “We are the first solar-powered village in America.” “We have a 150 megawatt solar farm,”
Florida Power & Light installed a gigantic 700,000-panel solar array in that solar field. Ian pounded the panels mercilessly, but they held up.
“Although there is a lot of water there, not a single panel is seen to have been moved. And for the last several days, there was a fair amount of wind here “Whitaker heard Kitson say. Gusts of more than 150, yet it didn’t knock a single panel out of place, which is quite amazing.
Aren’t you simply fortunate that you’re on a higher elevation than the majority of the areas of Florida that were swept away? Whitaker enquired.
“That’s significant, but not in light of the wind, rain, floods, and so on. Therefore, improper infrastructure construction will result in flooded dwellings, “Kitson said. “The wind damage will be yours. You have wind gusts of 150 to 160 miles per hour in particular. If— if this is not constructed correctly, it will collapse.”
According to Kitson, the Babcock Ranch is now home to roughly 5,000 people, but they want to eventually house 50,000 people.