Collier County Government News for February 2020

This month in Collier County government news: PAC supporting Naples incumbents gets busy; planned North Naples condos and new Senior Center face opposition; new flood maps could affect you. For these stories and more news for Collier County voters, read on.

Collier County government news

Local news reported in this post is by Brent Batten, Brittany Carloni, Rachel Fradette, Maureen Kenyon, Laura Layden, Devan Patel and Patrick Riley (USA TODAY Network – Florida: Naples Daily New, News-Press, Marco Eagle).

Growth & Development

One Naples is a planned condo and retail space to be built along Vanderbilt Beach and Gulfshore Drive in North Naples, housing 300 units and a private marina. Despite developer efforts to be responsive, neighbors remain concerned.

Naples Senior Center has outgrown its current leased space and wants zoning changes so it can build a two-story complex at the southeast intersection of Autumn Oakes Lane and Oakes Boulevard. But:

The owners of the 94-acre Riviera Golf Course sued the County in December over the requirements that have to be met before a golf course can apply for a rezoning, arguing many of the requirements are “egregious and confiscatory.” Now:

The Environment

The South Florida Water Management District has approved a plan to buy about 20,000 acres in the Everglades, a deal that would block exploratory oil drilling on part of the property.

Lake Trafford in Immokalee is the largest freshwater lake south of Lake Okeechobee. It underwent tens of millions of dollars’ worth of restoration since nonnative aquatic plants took over the ecosystem in the 1970s, yet it remains on the state’s list of impaired water bodies. Now:

In other news:

Health, Safety & Quality of Life

The proposed Arts and Culture Strategic Plan to guide county involvement was unanimously approved by the county’s Tourism Development Council.

County park pickleball members pushed back on proposed fee hikes recommended for adoption by county staff and an advisory board that would in some cases triple the existing rates. As a result:

A 15-foot-tall, 22-ton marble sculpture comes to the East Trail, thanks to the leadership of Commissioner Donna Fiala and her support for public art.

Other County News:

City of Naples

Last month, I wrote about the candidates for mayor and City Council in this month’s City of Naples elections. You can view the candidates’ latest campaign finance filings here.

On February 13, 2020, a Political Action Committee (PAC) called Citizens Who Love Naples was formed to support the incumbent mayor and council candidates. Its most recent filing reported 15 contributions of between $1,000 and $10,000 each totaling $76,000, and expenditures of $56,025.

Ethics Naples was the winner in a decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeal in a case over whether a proposal for a city ethics commission can be placed before voters in Naples.

The Naples Community Redevelopment Agency is holding public meetings to seek input from stakeholders for redevelopment planning for four city neighborhoods.

The City’s Planning Advisory Board voted 5-1, with board member Bruce Selfon dissenting, to recommend denial of a variance that would allow Wounded Warriors of Collier County to house eight people — seven veterans and one caretaker — in a single-family home in River Park.

About 12 blocks of Gulf Shore Boulevard between South Golf Drive and Second Avenue South will have to be torn up as the city proceeds with work on the beach outfall removal project.

In other news:

City of Marco Island

Following a beach code violation last year related to trimming vegetation on dunes:

City Council Chairman Erik Brechnitz was incensed the state’s Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission agreed to a suspension and probation for a former Marco Island police officer caught on video putting his pants on outside of his squad car.

The City of Marco Island may have to rehire police officers it deemed not suitable for employment — with full back pay.

In other news:

City of Everglades City

The small town on the edge of the Everglades, which was one of the hardest hit areas when Hurricane Irma swept through in 2017, has been wrestling with a host of issues related to its sewage plant. Now some good news:

Collier County Public Schools

Supervisor of Elections

Nearly 60% of Collier County voters who voted in 2016 were moved to inactive. They’re disproportionately younger, non-white and registered as Democrats.

Our State Legislators

Parts of Collier County are represented in the Florida House of Representatives by Rep. Byron Donalds (District 80), Rep. Bob Rommel (District 106), and Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez (District 105). All of Collier County is represented in the Florida Senate by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo.

Our U.S. Congressmen

Parts of Collier County are represented in the U.S. Congress by
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (District 25) and U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (District 19).

Opportunities to Learn

That’s it for February’s Collier County government news. Have a great March, and don’t forget to vote!

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