This month in Collier County government news: Planning Commission rejects proposed Rivergrass Village; commissioners defer vote on impact fee increases; firefighters, EMS train to respond to active shooter situations. For these stories and more Collier County government news, read on.
After hearing some opposition and neighborhood concerns, a well-known Naples developer went back to the drawing board.
- Stock Development revises controversial plans for One Naples near Vanderbilt Beach. Naples Daily News, 11/07/19
A Naples resident had asked the City to allow dogs off-leash during early morning hours on a portion of the public beach. But amid concerns, the Community Services Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend that City Council deny the request.
- Naples advisory board recommends against dog beach at Lowdermilk. Naples Daily News, 11/19/19
Community members in the Golden Gate Estates Area say a proposed zoning change “would make life for all the surrounding homeowners miserable.”
- Commissioner Burt Saunders trying to change Estates zoning to allow commercial boarding of horses. Golden Gate Estates Area Civic Association Newsletter, 11/19/19
Opportunities to consider:
- Citizens’ police academy now accepting applications for January 2020.
- Commissioners seek applications for positions on several advisory committees.
Growth & Development
Collier County is considering changes to impact fees on new development but critics say higher fees could make new homes less affordable and cause new businesses to go elsewhere.
“Commissioners Bill McDaniel and Donna Fiala have aligned themselves with developers,” write Phil Fernandez and David Dorsey for the Naples Daily News/News-Press, while “Commissioners Penny Taylor and Burt Saunders have sided with the taxpayers” and “Commissioner Andy Solis has set himself up as the swing vote.”
- Builders, businesses fear effect of proposed double-digit impact fee increases. Naples Daily News, 11/03/19
- Collier commissioners decrease some road impact fees, postpone vote on increases. Naples Daily News, 11/12/19
- Editorial: Now is not the time to raise impact fees on homes in Collier County. Naples Daily News, 11/13/19
- Should they stay or should they go? Naples Daily News, 11/28/19
East of 951/Collier Blvd
Rivergrass, a proposed village with up to 2,500 homes, commercial and governmental space, and an 18-hole golf course in eastern Collier County, is headed to county commissioners in December without an important recommendation.
- Planning commission rejects plan for 1,000-acre village in rural Collier. Naples Daily News, 11/11/19
Golden Gate & East Naples
New, market-rate apartments could revitalize the defunct Courthouse Shadows Shopping Center in East Naples. The Board of County Commissioners approved increased density for the development on a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Penny Taylor dissented because approval was not contingent upon inclusion of affordable housing units.
- Apartments that could revitalize tired shopping center moving forward after approval from county commission. Naples Daily News, 11/12/19
A two-lane roundabout on Bonita Beach Road is the last step to a long-awaited connection.
- Final leg of Logan Blvd. extension connecting Collier and Lee counties to be completed in early 2020. Florida Weekly, 11/14/19
Two long-discussed projects to convert underutilized retail space to residential use are progressing.
- Editorial: Urban infill, the wave of the future, is already occurring around Naples. Naples Daily News, 11/19/19
South Florida Water Management District managers are looking at more than two dozen ways to clean water stored along the Caloosahatchee River system. Meetings beginning in January will give the public an idea of the 25 treatment technologies the district is looking to implement.
- Water management district discusses Caloosahatchee projects. News-Press, 11/14/19
Mayor Bill Barnett hosted a town hall to inform the public about the steps cities and agencies have taken to combat the deteriorating water quality that resulted from last year’s devastating algal blooms.
- Southwest Florida mayors, experts meet to discuss water quality issues. Naples Daily News, 11/25/19
Conservation Collier is a Collier County land acquisition program approved by voters in 2002 and again in 2006 following a stakeholder-driven campaign by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and other environmental groups. Land purchases and maintenance under the program were funded by a voter-approved special tax that ended in 2016. Next year, voters may be asked whether they support re-starting the program by bringing back the special tax.
- Environmental advocates gear up for Conservation Collier vote. Naples Daily News, 11/27/19
Separately, Commissioners approved on a 4-1 vote the purchase for $1.58 million of a 37-acre parcel. Commissioner Solis dissented because he opposes funding the purchase from the Conservation Collier land maintenance budget.
Health, Safety & Quality of Life
A recent decision made collaboratively by Collier County’s first responders sets the stage for success in dangerous situations.
- Collier County firefighters, EMS train to respond to active shooters situations, WINKnews.com, 11/7/19
The majority of human trafficking cases go unreported, making it difficult to convince lawmakers to spend money to combat the problem. A new initiative will collect data from those who provide services to victims.
- State Attorney Amira Fox’s office pioneers district-wide human trafficking data project. WGCU.org, 11/15/19
Collier County’s new Advanced Traffic Management System monitors data in real-time, prioritizes fire/rescue and EMS vehicles transiting through intersections and automatically changes signal timing based on vehicle volumes.
- Moving traffic operations into the future. Newsletter, Collier County Growth Management Department, 3Q19
Dead fish sightings were reported several times this month due to lingering red tide along the coast. Neither the City, County nor state is responsible for removing dead fish floating in canals of other inland bodies of water.
- Who can you call when you see dead fish floating in a canal? Marco Eagle, 11/11/19
A pedestrian bridge across Golden Gate Parkway would make it easier for walkers and bikers to get from one to the other.
- Pedestrian bridge from Greenway to Freedom Park seen as ‘missing link.’ Florida Weekly, 11/14/19
Collier County’s multi-million dollar beach renourishment project is more than a third complete and on pace to finish up by the end of the year.
- Park Shore beach renourishment project more than a third complete. Naples Daily News, 11/1/19
A recently-approved contract to dredge Water Turkey Bay, Wiggins Pass and Caxambas Pass will help boaters and renourish Marco Island’s South Beach.
- Collier leaders approve $2.35M contract for dredging, beach renourishment. Naples Daily News, 11/15/19
City of Naples
A new five-star resort to take the place of the historic Naples Beach Hotel is one step closer to final approval. Council’s final vote will be after a second hearing on December 4.
- Naples City Council unanimously approves new resort to replace Naples Beach Hotel. Naples Daily News, 11/20/19
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City of Marco Island
Erik Brechnitz was re-elected for an unprecedented second consecutive term as the Chairman of the Marco Island City Council.
- Brechnitz ready to move forward. Coastal Breeze News, 11/22/19
Marco Island City Council is attempting to set rules for the placement of road-side signs.
- Marco Island City Council overruled planning board regarding sign rules, Goldstein says. Marco Eagle, 11/5/19
Facing repeat violations of ordinances, City councilors want to do more to punish offenders.
- Marco Island councilors want heftier fines against Madeira, others. Marco Eagle, 10/30/19
Marco Island Police Chief Tracy Frazzano shares agency challenges at event hosted by the Marco Island Police Foundation.
- Frazzano talks recruitment and accountability issues at MIPD during Lunch with the Chief. Marco Eagle, 11/9/19
And in other Marco Island news:
- City council approves agreement with Marco Island Academy to keep students safe. Marco Eagle, 11/10/19
- Florida awards nearly $2.5 million to Marco Island to acquire 60 back-up generators. Marco Eagle, 11/29/19
- Marco Island City Council to vote on proposal to identify source of nutrients affecting canals. Naples Daily News, 11/29/19
Collier County Public Schools
Collier school students who are qualified medical marijuana patients can now receive treatments on campus under a new policy passed unanimously by the school board.
- Collier school board approves medical marijuana policy. Naples Daily News, 11/14/19; Policy 5330.05 Medical Marijuana
In other news:
- What’s next year look like for Collier schools? Here’s the calendar. Naples Daily News, 11/13/19; calendar
- Pro-life group allowed to open at Florida high school after dispute. Catholic News Agency, 11/8/19; updated 11/18/19
- Mason Classical releases report challenging mismanagement allegations, claims exoneration. Naples Daily News, 11/6/19
- Mason Classical files suit against former board member Joe Baird. NBC2 News, 11/21/19
Local news reported in this post is by Jake Allen, Brent Batten, David Dorsey, Phil Fernandez, Rachel Fradette, Frank Gluck, Greg Hardwig, Laura Layden, Devan Patel, Patrick Riley, Karl Schneider and Andrew Wigdor (Naples Daily News/News-Press); Omar Rodriguez Ortiz (Marco Eagle); Tim Aten, Kristine Gill (Florida Weekly); Steve “Stef” Stefanides (Coastal Breeze News); and Andrea Perdomo (WGCU News).
Collier Clerk Crystal Kinzel
Collier County residents who wish to handle certain civil court matters without an attorney can now find help at the Collier County Courthouse. A new “Self Help Center” provides automated, computerized forms for small claims matters, landlord/tenant cases and family law proceedings, including divorce.
- Clerk announces opening of the Collier County Self Help Center. Clerk’s Newsletter, November 2019
Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk
Collier County Sheriff ’s Office Sgt. Wade Williams, named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, was nominated by Linda Oberhaus, chief executive officer of The Shelter for Abused Women & Children in Collier County.
- Collier Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Wade Williams honored for fight against human trafficking. Collier Star, Edition 30, 2019
On November 4, 2014, voters agreed to merge the existing East Naples and Golden Gate Fire Districts. Since then, the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District has experienced tremendous growth, protecting more than 160,000 residents in some 1,512 square miles through a number of local and state operating agreements that make it one of the largest fire districts in the State.
- Happy 5th Birthday, GNFD! GNFD Newsletter, 11/04/19
The long-talked-about consolidation of Collier’s fire districts is already happening. Crews are responding to emergencies based on their location and their capabilities. What stands in the way of full consolidation are complex questions about tax burden, employee wage and benefit equity and good, old-fashioned politics.
- Brent Batten: CAD numbers show fire district boundaries are disappearing. Naples Daily News, 11/16/19
Our State Legislators
- Editorial: Kathleen Passidomo’s rise to Senate president would benefit Southwest Florida. Naples Daily News, 11/14/19
- Rep. Bob Rommel wants to amend Florida constitution to make it harder to raise local taxes. Florida Daily, 10/30/19
- Rep. Byron Donalds presents President Donald Trump with 2019 Bipartisan Justice Award. Rep. Donalds’ Newsletter, 11/05/19
- Rep. Byron Donalds: Black Floridians are thriving under Trump. Naples Daily News, 11/27/19
Our U.S. Representatives
- Francis Rooney joins all House Republicans in vote against impeachment resolution. News-Press, 10/31/19
- Mario Diaz-Balart doubles down on support of Farm Workforce Modernization Act, mandatory e-Verify. Florida Daily, 11/19/19
That’s it for November’s Collier County Government News. Happy Holidays!