Collier County & Local News for December 2021

Collier County and Local News December 2021

Collier County Redistricting

After county staff held public meetings in each of the county’s five districts and with several municipal and civic groups (Sparker’s Soapbox, 12/3/21), commissioners approved a new district map.

The vote was 3-2 in favor of Map 2, which also had the support of The League of Women Voters of Collier County, NAACP Collier County, and seven individuals who submitted comments on the maps before the vote.

Click on the map to enlarge and view.

“I don’t think Map 2 has any significant negative impact on any particular districts, but I think it sends a message that we are serious about making sure that minorities in this county have the opportunity to have representation,” Commissioner Burt Saunders said about the decision.

Commissioners Bill McDaniel and Rick LoCastro voted against Map 2. McDaniel cited “huge concerns with subdividing the rural Golden Gate Estates.” LoCastro wanted as little change as possible to the current District 1 boundaries. (Naples Daily News, 12/15/21; LoCastro Newsletter, 12/16/21)

As a result of the redistricting, some residents may have a new representative on the county commission. The Supervisor of Elections will send new voter information cards to anyone affected by redistricting changes after the Legislature approves the new congressional and state legislative district maps later this year.


Board of County Commissioners

Collier County residents are represented by one of five elected county commissioners.
Find your commissioner

The BCC held a regular meeting on Dec. 14. See agenda here, minutes here, and video replay here.


Beach Renourishment Project Update

Crews are wrapping up the first part of a $5 million beach renourishment project at a 2-mile stretch of Naples Beach, from Lowdermilk Park to near Naples Pier. They will next renourish a 1.3-mile section of Vanderbilt Beach, from just south of Delnor Wiggins State Park to about one-half mile south of Vanderbilt Beach Road. A third and smaller phase will take place at the private Pelican Bay beach. While the public beaches are funded through the county’s Tourist Development Tax funds, Pelican Bay is paying for its own renourishment. Completion of the entire project is expected in mid-January 2022. (Naples Daily News, 12/6/21; Commissioner Penny Taylor newsletter, 12/17/21)


Public Art Committee to be Formed

Commissioners unanimously approved with changes a proposed ordinance creating a seven-member Collier County Public Art Committee. The Committee will advise the Board on all matters relating to public art within unincorporated Collier County, including the Bayshore Gateway Triangle Community Redevelopment area. Members, who will be appointed by the BCC, must have knowledge of and appreciation for the visual arts and be permanent residents and voters of Collier County. (12/14/21 BCC Meeting Recap and Agenda Action Item)


Golden Gate Golf Course Project Update

Commissioners heard an update on the activity regarding the construction of a golf course at the Golden Gate Golf Course property. Nicklaus Design working under Davidson Engineering is expected to finalize the design of the course by mid-January 2022, with target completion in the fourth quarter of 2022. (12/24/21 BCC Meeting Recap, Agenda Action Item)


Beach Parking, Boat Launch Fees to Increase

Commissioners approved increases in fees for use of some county parks and recreational facilities. Parking at Collier beaches will now cost $10 per vehicle, a $2 increase, for those without parking stickers. Commercial boat launch permits issued each year will be limited to 180 to alleviate overcrowding and parking issues. There is no such limit now. (Naples Daily News, 12/22/21)


Proposed Spanish-Language Church Rejected

Commissioners denied an application for a proposed church in Golden Gate Estates by a 4-1 vote amid neighborhood opposition earlier this month, with Commissioner Andy Solis dissenting. The proposed church needed a conditional use permit and an amendment to the Golden Gate Master plan, the latter of which commissioners were unwilling to allow. (Naples Daily News, 12/22/21)


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 Dec. 1, 13, and 15. See agendas, minutes, and recordings of these meetings here.


Naples Beach Hotel Redevelopment

The Athens Group, purchaser of the Naples Beach Hotel property, and The North American Land Trust, a nonprofit which preserves and manages open space, reached an agreement on a conservation easement. The easement is designed to protect a portion of the former Hotel’s golf course in perpetuity. It is being required by City Council as part of its approval of the purchaser’s redevelopment plans. The agreement, which requires approval of the Trust’s board, is expected to close by the next council meeting. (Naples Daily News, 12/17/21)

Meanwhile, hotel neighbor Gregory Myers, who opposes the Athens Group’s plans to build a Four Seasons resort and residential development on the property, has filed a second lawsuit over the project, causing another ripple in the redevelopment plans. (Naples Daily News, 12/16/21)


Changes to Fishing Regulations at Naples Pier

City Council approved a resolution restricting fishing at Naples Pier on Sundays, along with several other changes meant to curb wildlife injuries. The vote on the Sunday restriction was 5-2, with Councilmembers Gary Price and Ted Blankenship in the minority. Most of the other changes passed unanimously. (Naples Daily News, 12/15/21)


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 and special meetings on Dec. 6. See agendas, minutes, and video replays here.


Denial of Dock Extension Overturned

Meeting for the first time as a Zoning Board of Appeals, City Council unanimously approved a property owner’s request to allow a 10-foot dock extension, overturning a denial by City Planning Board. (Coastal Breeze News, 12/9/21)


District School Board of Collier County

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

The Collier County School Board held a regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 15. See agenda here and video archive here.


Adoption of School Board Member Districts

At its meeting on Dec. 15, the School Board affirmed its prior decisions to have its district boundaries be the same as those of the county commission districts. It voted unanimously to adopt the same Map 2 approved by the BCC as reported above. (12/15/21 School Board Meeting Agenda)


Congratulations, Superintendent Patton!

Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Kamela Patton was named one of four finalists for the 2022 National Superintendent of the Year® by AASA, The School Superintendents Association. This distinction honors school system leaders throughout the country who are making a positive difference in the lives of the students they serve, in addition to ensuring the safety and wellness of their school communities. The winner will be announced during AASA’s National Conference on Education on Feb. 17, 2022. (AASA News Release, CCPS Release, 12/20/21)


Other Local Elected Officials

All Collier County residents are represented by Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards, Clerk of the Circuit Court Crystal Kinzel, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Property Appraiser Abe Skinner, and Tax Collector Rob Stoneburner.

Sheriff

A two-and-a-half-year investigation by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit led to the arrest last month of a Naples bookkeeper. She is accused of what authorities call an elaborate embezzlement scheme to steal more than $800,000 from three entities where she worked, including a nonprofit that supports schools and a church in Haiti. Sheriff Kevin Rambosk called it “detective work at its finest.” (Naples Daily News, 11/17/21)


A 12-year-old East Naples Middle School student was arrested after three students told a Collier County Sheriff’s Office Youth Relations deputy that the student had a BB pistol in his backpack. They said the student was showing the pistol to other classmates and planned to either point it at or shoot a teacher with it. The student was taken into custody to be processed through the Juvenile Assessment Center. (ABC-7.com, 12/7/21)


The Collier County Sheriff’s Office Citizen Review Panel met to review the closed case involving the officer-involved shooting death of Morales Besanilla in September 2020. The panel agreed with the exoneration of all Sheriff’s Office deputies involved. The leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and some community activities disagreed with the decision. (Naples Daily News, 12/16/21)

Supervisor of Elections

Each year, the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Offices hosts the Art for Democracy contest, challenging students to create a piece of artwork that expresses the meaning of democracy. Winning students and schools receive recognition at an artists’ reception and a monetary prize provided by Champions For Learning through the Chuck Mohlke Endowment Fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County.

This year’s winners were Christopher Epperson of Lely High School and the Gulfview Middle School Art Department whose artist, Leslie Wu was selected as “Best in Show.” (News Release, 12/7/21; www.CollierVotes.gov/ART)


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 (District 28).
Find Your State Representative

State legislators met with representatives of public agencies and non-governmental organizations in Collier County on Dec. 8 for the annual Legislative Delegation Day. (Naples Daily News, 12/9/21)


U.S. House of Representatives

Parts of Collier County are represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Mario Diaz-Balart (District 25) and Byron Donalds (District 19).
Find Your Congressman

Key Votes in the U.S. House

The US House of Representatives voted to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress and to raise the debt ceiling, keeping the United States from default. Southwest Florida’s representatives Byron Donalds and Mario Diaz-Balart voted against both measures, which passed on largely party-line votes. (The Paradise Progressive, 12/15/21)

S.J.Res.33 — Increasing the debt limit — increases the public debt limit by $2.5 trillion
Diaz-Balart — Nay; Donalds — Nay
Passed 221/209 on 12/15/21

H.Res. 851: Recommending that the House of Representatives find Mark Randall Meadows in contempt of Congress …
Diaz-Balart — Nay; Donalds — Nay
Passed 222/208 on 12/14/21


District 19: Byron Donalds


District 25: Mario Diaz-Balart


Local news reported in this post is by Laura Layden, Rachel Heimann Mercador, and Karl Schneider (Naples Daily News), and Lynn Alexander and Steve Stefanides (Coastal Breeze News)


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That’s it for December’s news for Collier County voters. Later this week, December’s state news update.

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