Collier County & Local News for April 2021

April 2020 Collier County Board of County Commissioner News

Board of County Commissioners

Collier County residents are represented by one of five elected county commissioners.
Find Your County Commissioner

The BCC held regular meetings on April 13 and 27 and a workshop on April 6. See agendas and video replays here.

Development / Redevelopment

Plans for major development and redevelopment projects moved ahead in April. Here’s the latest.

Courthouse Shadows (BCC District 1)

Demolition permits were issued and demolition began at the Courthouse Shadows retail center in East Naples. Johnson Development Associates plans to build a 300-unit residential community in five four-story buildings. The first apartments are targeted for completion in September 2022. (Gulfshore Business Daily, 4/23/21)

Golden Gate Golf Course property
(BCC District 3)

At its regular meeting on April 27, the BCC unanimously approved moving forward to negotiate with ClubCorp/BigShots Golf to build and operate a county-owned golf course and family entertainment and dining venue on the Golden Gate Golf Club property near the intersection of Collier Boulevard and Golden Gate Parkway.

The proposal includes a 12-hole public golf course and a BigShots Golf entertainment facility with hitting bays, a putting course, and an upscale sports bar-type restaurant. The First Tee of Naples/Collier would also have its home on the property. (NDN, 4/27/21)

Bayshore/Gateway Triangle area
(BCC District 4 / City of Naples)

This month, we learned of plans for an AC Marriott hotel at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Goodlette Road, adjacent to a new Gulfshore Playhouse and cultural arts campus coming to Goodlette and First Avenue South by 2023. Naples City Council will consider requested zoning changes at its May 5 meeting. (NDN, 4/21/21)

For more on the Gateway Triangle development, see “A New Dawn for East Naples? Excitement, wariness greet plans for major Bayshore developments.” (Gulfshore Business, 4/5/21)

Eastern Collier County (BCC District 5)

For months, we’ve shared news about Collier Enterprises’ controversial plans to develop three separate, 1,000-acre villages in eastern Collier County. The plans are controversial because the villages are to be built in the environmentally sensitive Rural Lands Stewardship Area (RLSA ).

This month, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the second project, known as Longwater Village, and of the third project, known as Bellmar. Both still require BCC and state and federal approvals, which will include consideration of their environmental impacts. (NDN, 4/20/21)

A new Town of Big Cypress is also in the works, to serve as an “activity center” for the three villages. Collier Enterprises says they will submit an application for the town after the villages are all approved by the County. (WINK News, 4/27/21)

For more on the growth in the eastern part of the County, see “Avenues to Future Development: Immokalee Road driving growth east in Collier”. (Gulfshore Business, 4/8/21)

Infrastructure and services

Immokalee Road

According to Collier County’s Transportation Planning Department, traffic volumes along Immokalee Road between Livingston Road and Logan Boulevard are approaching capacity. Based on anticipated growth, drivers will experience severe delays by 2040 if the situation is not addressed. But adding lanes is not feasible because of existing development along both sides of the road and the Cocohatchee Canal along the north side. The County is conducting a study of traffic in the area to recommend ways to address the problem. (Transportation Planning Department, 5/2/21)

For a narrated presentation of improvements being considered, click here.

Other Infrastructure

Other BCC News

The Environment; Sea Level Rise

Last year we learned that local governments in Collier County are looking at ways to stem the growing threat of projected rising sea levels and more intense storms to coastal communities. (NDN, 7/7/20)

This month, to begin building coastal resiliency:

Also this month, Commissioners reluctantly agreed to sign non-binding letters of support for a federal plan to shore up some of Collier County’s coastline against large tropical storms. Residents of Marco Island, Naples Cay and Pelican Bay were among those who spoke against the plan. (NDN, 4/28/21)

The $2.1 billion plan calls for phased construction of seawalls, gates, jetties, and dunes, and non-structural projects such as flood-proofing and elevating buildings. The cost would be split between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ($1.4 billion) and the county ($750 million). (NDN, 4/28/21)

Meanwhile:


Naples City Council

City of Naples residents are represented by an elected mayor and six elected city councilors.
Meet the Naples City Council

The Naples City Council held regular meetings on April 7 and 21 and workshops on April 5 and April 19. See agendas and video replays here.

On April 5, Council members reviewed, discussed, and provided direction to staff on:

On April 19, Council members reviewed, discussed, and provided direction to staff on:

Naples Beach Hotel Redevelopment

In 2019, Naples’ previous City Council approved a plan by The Athens Group to redevelop the Naples Beach Hotel property. That plan included a non-statutory easement from the developer, without third-party enforcement, to ensure preservation of the golf course. The newly constituted Council (post-March 2020 City elections) wants to strengthen the protection of the property’s green space.

At its April 7 meeting, City Council unanimously authorized negotiation of a “statutory conservation easement to a land trust with third-party right of enforcement.” (NDN, 4/8/21)

Separately, as we wrote last month, at a special meeting on March 25, City Council heard concerns raised by residents about The Athens Group’s plans for redevelopment of the Naples Beach Hotel’s golf course. (NDN, 3/25/21)

To address those concerns, the developer told City Council at its April 7 meeting that it would relocate the new racquet center toward the interior of the property. That would place it away from the residential neighborhoods on South Golf Drive and Third Street North. (NDN, 4/16/21)

At its April 21 meeting, Council considered two appeals by residents of the City Design Review Board’s approval of plans to rebuild the hotel restaurant, HB’s on the Gulf. (NDN, 4/13/21) After discussion, the Council decided to hear the matter again at a special meeting on May 25.

Marco Island City Council

City of Marco Island residents are represented by seven elected city councilors.
Meet the Marco Island City Council

The Marco Island City Council held regular meetings on April 5 and 19, a workshop on water quality on April 8, and a workshop on the Comprehensive Plan on April 29. See agendas and video replays here.

Among actions taken at the meeting, Council members:

  • voted 6-1 to approve a rezoning for a new assisted living facility on a 10-acre lot across from City Hall. Councilor Joseph Rola voted against the rezoning, saying the project will result in an increase in the number of dwelling units allowed per acre (Marco Eagle, 4/6/21);
  • discussed actions homeowners and the City can take to protect the Island’s canals (Marco Eagle via Naples Daily News, 4/12/21); and
  • approved spending $12.5 million to replace Fire Station 50 with a new station and an emergency center, and $10.4 million to renovate Veterans’ Community Park. (Marco Eagle, 4/21/21)

In other news:

District School Board of Collier County

Collier County residents are represented by five elected School Board members.
Meet the School Board

The School Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on April 13. See agenda here and video archive here.

Among actions taken at the meeting, the Board unanimously approved the recommendations of the K-5 English Language Arts Instructional Materials Review Work Group.

Also this month, the District announced that it would discontinue Classroom Connect and the High School Flexible Model, two virtual learning programs used by about 8 percent of the District’s students this past year. (Naples Daily News, 4/13/21)

It also announced updated plans for Class of 2021 commencement ceremonies. Attendance will be restricted due to COVID-19, but all ceremonies will be live-streamed from each high school’s football stadium. (CCPS, 4/26/21)

The District is working with high school principals, activities coordinators and senior class leadership to develop celebrations in place of proms and other traditional end-of-year events. The celebrations will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines in place on campus, including face coverings. (Naples Daily News, 4/14/21)


Other Local Elected Officials

Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk:


Florida Legislature

Parts of Collier County are represented in the Florida House of Representatives by Reps. Bob Rommel (District 106), Lauren Melo (District 80), and David Borrero (District 105). All of Collier County is represented in the Florida Senate by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo.
Find Your State Representative

On April 30, the Florida Legislature passed a budget totaling $101.5 billion that awaits Gov. DeSantis’ signature. Of local importance, the budget includes more than $33 million in specific allocations for the benefit of Collier County:

For more information about these allocations, see Rep. Bob Rommel’s 4/30/21 newsletter.

Rep. Rommel and Sen. Passidomo outlined what they considered to be the session’s legislative highlights in their end-of-session newsletters:

We will review the budget and other session accomplishments in another post.


U.S. House of Representatives

Key Votes in the U.S. House

Protecting Healthcare Workers from Violence
HR 1195 — Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act
Diaz-Balart — No; Donalds — No
Passed — 254/166 on 4/16/21

Equal Pay for Women
HR 7 — Paycheck Fairness Act
Diaz-Balart — No; Donalds — No
Passed 217/210 on 4/15/21

Legal Help at Ports of Entry
HR 1573 — Access to Counsel Act of 2021
Diaz-Balart — No; Donalds — No
Passed — 217/207 on 4/21/21

Bans on Entering the United States
HR 1333 — NO BAN Act
Diaz-Balart — No; Donalds — No
Passed — 218/208 on 4/21/21

Conferring District of Columbia Statehood
HR 51 — Washington, D.C. Admission Act
Diaz-Balart — No; Donalds — No
Passed — 216/208 on 4/22/21

That’s it for this month’s news for Collier County voters.

Local news reported in this post is by:
Brittany Carloni, Rachel Fradette, Chad Gillis, Greg Hardwig, Omar Rodriguez Ortiz, Adam Regan, and Karl Schneider (Naples Daily News/The News-Press/Marco Eagle); Stephanie Byrne, Anika Henanger, and Nicole Lauren (WINK News); Jennifer Kveglis (NBC-2 News); and Tim Aten and Brett J. Blackledge (Gulfshore Business)

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