Collier County Government News for January 2020

This month in Collier County government news: Commissioners approve Rivergrass Village, nix Clam Pass parking garage; Conservation Collier heads to November ballot. For these stories and more Collier County government news, read on.

Collier County government news

Growth & Development

Rivergrass Village — In what may be one of the most important votes for the future of growth in Collier County, commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a 1,000-acre village along Oil Well Road, east of Golden Gate Estates after nearly six hours of presentations, public comments and discussions. Up to 2,500 mostly single-family homes could be part of Rivergrass Village, along with a golf course and village center. Commissioners Burt Saunders and Penny Taylor cast the minority votes.

Previous coverage:

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Conservation Collier

Conservation Collier is a land preservation program that was funded with a quarter-mill property tax from 2003 to 2013. Since inception, the program acquired 20 properties totaling 4,300 acres for about $106 million, and the trust fund currently has about $30 million. This month, in a move supported by environmental organizations, commissioners voted 4-1 to let voters consider reinstating the tax. Commissioner Bill McDaniel cast the minority vote.

Health, Safety & Quality of Life

Commissioners decided not to pursue a proposed parking garage at Clam Pass Park that was intended, in part, to help take pressure off other beaches in the county and within the city of Naples. The plan had drawn the ire of neighbors and concern from some environmentalists.

Collier County residents enjoy a broad — if not always coordinated — spectrum of arts opportunities that include programs for seniors, local theater and music, and children’s classes. Now:

County-Owned Golf Course Property

Last year, Collier County acquired a 167-acre golf course in Golden Gate, with its future use to be determined. This month, commissioners considered two proposed golf entertainment options for the property. Despite some concerns about noise and lighting impacts on neighbors, a split commission voted to move forward with Dallas-based ClubCorp’s proposal for a BigShots Golf 200-yard driving range where shots can be tracked and scored using technology. Commissioners Donna Fiala and Penny Taylor cast the minority votes.

Separately, it was reported that the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the Moorings Park Foundation may offer millions of dollars toward a public-private partnership to put hundreds of rental units on part of the property if the right plan comes along.

Civic Engagement

2020 Census

On December 10, 2019, the Board of County Commissioners appointed a Complete Count Coordinator to increase awareness and participation in the 2020 Census. The Coordinator will coordinate County staff, resources, facilities, and programs to promote awareness to Collier County residents, interest groups, and municipalities to ensure an accurate count. To offer assistance or for more information, contact Maria Pizarro, Community Relations Specialist, 239-252-8113 or

Opportunities to Learn

City of Naples

The City of Naples will hold its 2020 general elections for mayor and three members of City Council on March 17.

In its FY 2018-2019 Annual Report, the City of Naples highlighted several accomplishments. They include:

  • the opening of the Patty and Jay Baker Park and Phase 1 (5th Avenue South to Central Avenue) of the 8th Street Corridor Improvement Project,
  • the dedication of the Fire Administration / Fire Station No. 1,
  • receipt of a $1.2 million appropriation from the State of Florida to offset residents’ assessment costs for the Gulf Acres/Rosemary Heights Joint Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Project, and
  • completion of 23 new reefs and three chevron-shaped reef ball structures to provide fish and oyster habitat, as well as wave attenuation.

A Naples developer claims he’s been treated unfairly, through city council votes, building department decisions and code enforcement actions that have stymied his projects and resulted in hefty fines.

City of Marco Island

The state’s Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission handed down a light punishment and allowed Marco Island’ disgraced former police officer Neil Giansanti to keep his certification after being involved in a sex on duty scandal. Now the Marco Island City Council is making sure the Commission and Gov. Ron DeSantis know how it feels about the handling of the case.

Two members of the public wanted to discuss revelations regarding possible ethical violations by a member of City Council at a recent meeting, but were denied a hearing.

At a recent City Council meeting, Councilman Larry Honig reviewed the five projects on which Council intends to spend the City’s share of the receipts from the one-cent increase in the Collier County sales tax

In other news:

Collier County Public Schools

Statewide high school graduation rates were announced this month. Collier County schools’ graduation rate was 91.9% for the second year in a row. Last year, it climbed 3.7 percentage points.

Golden Gate Elementary School students participate in the Leader in Me whole-school transformation model based on Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. That’s just one of the reasons the school recently earned national recognition.

In other news:

Local news reported in this post is by Brent Batten, Rachel Fradette, Laura Layden, Harriet Howard Heithaus, Ledyard King, Omar Rodriguez Ortiz, Devan Patel and Patrick Riley (Naples Daily News/News-Press/Marco Eagle) and by Steve “Stef” Stefanides (Coastal Breeze News)

Collier Clerk Crystal Kinzel

Collier Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards

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 of Rep. Francis Rooney (District 19) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (District 25).

That’s it for January’s Collier County Government News. Have a great February!

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