Collier County & Local News for October 2021

October 2021 Collier County and Local Government News

Collier County Redistricting

Just as Congressional and state legislative district maps are redrawn every ten years to adjust for uneven growth rates in different parts of the state, county district boundaries are redrawn to achieve a greater population balance between districts as well.

According to 2020 census data, Collier County commission districts’ populations vary from 66,037 (District 4) to 86,863 (District 5). An evenly distributed population would have approximately 75,150 in each district.

Using criteria approved by the BCC, five proposed maps have been drawn for the Board’s consideration on December 14, 2021. Links to those maps and other information regarding county redistricting are on the county website. A PowerPoint presentation titled 2020 Census – Redistricting – Collier County by the County Growth Management Department is here.

Public meetings will be held in each of the county’s five districts to gather feedback from residents on the draft maps. The meetings will be held at 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • District 1: Nov. 1 at the Collier County Government Center Administrative Building on the third floor
  • District 2: Nov. 10 at North Collier Regional Park
  • District 3: Nov. 16 at the Golden Gate Community Center
  • District 4: Nov. 2 at the Growth Management Department, located at 2800 N. Horseshoe Drive
  • District 5: Nov. 15 at Immokalee Community Park

Board of County Commissioners

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

The BCC held regular bi-monthly meetings on October 12 and October 26. See agendas here, minutes here, and video replays here.

Relieving Immokalee Road Congestion

Traffic

After hearing a presentation and recommendations based on an Immokalee Road Corridor Congestion Study, commissioners at their October 12 meeting unanimously adopted a roadmap for improving safety and traffic congestion along a two-mile stretch between Livingston Road and Logan Boulevard in North Naples. (Naples Daily News, 10/17/21; Immokalee Road Corridor Congestion Study; Executive Summary – Agenda Item 11.C)

Renourishing the Beaches

Sand eroded from three Collier beaches is set to be replaced by the County beginning in late October. At their October 12 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a nearly $5 million project to replenish portions of Naples, Vanderbilt, and Pelican Bay beaches. (Naples Daily News, 10/13/21)

Approving New Development

234 New Luxury Apartments in North Naples

At their September 28 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a change to the county’s growth plan to allow the development of Blue Coral, a new luxury apartment complex in North Naples. The project will have 234 apartments, of which 70 units will be for essential workers with lower incomes. (Naples Daily News, 10/1/21)

400 New Apartments, Commercial Space at Randall Curve

At their October 23 meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to allow a 400-unit apartment complex with 150,000 square feet of commercial space to be developed near the intersection of Immokalee Road and Randall Boulevard. Forty of the units will be reserved for people with incomes between 80% and 120% of the average median income in Collier County or about $59,000. The project required amending the county’s land development code and growth management plan. (Naples Daily News, 10/27/21)

Shopping Center, Expanded Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Golden Gate Estates

At their October 23 meeting, commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a multi-use development at the intersection of Golden Gate Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard. Plans include a new shopping center, expansion of Shy Wolf Sanctuary, a new government facility, and 50,000 square feet of commercial development, including a gas station.

The project required amending the county’s zoning rules, a change to the growth management plan, and a waiver of county rules pertaining to gas stations.

Commissioner Penny Taylor was the sole no vote. She was concerned that fuel could leak from the new gas station into a nearby well that the county uses to supply drinking water to residents. (Naples Daily News, 10/27/21)

Other BCC News


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 October 6 and October 20, a Special Meeting on October 14, and Workshops on October 4 and October 18. For agendas, minutes, and recordings of these meetings, click here.

New Hospital Zoning District In the Works

At its Workshop on October 18, City Council members discussed a request by Naples Community Hospital to create a hospital zoning district that would establish new height rules across most of its campus for buildings. The requested zoning change would enable NCH to replace the approximately 80-foot tall, three-story Telford Education Center with a 100-foot-tall, six-story cardiac center to be known as the NCH Heart Institute. (Naples Daily News, 10/19/21; NCH Heart Institute Workshop Presentation, 10/18/21)

Community input and consideration of the need for an amendment to the City Charter are among the next steps.

Naples Fire Chief Now Interim City Manager

Last month, Naples Fire Chief Pete DiMaria announced plans to retire at the end of September unless Council approved an ordinance that would allow him to collect retirement benefits while also continuing to earn a salary as fire chief. (Sparker’s Soapbox, 9/27/21)

Subsequently, the ordinance was approved by a 5-2 vote, with Vice Mayor Terry Hutchison and Councilman Mike McCabe voting no. (Naples Daily News, 9/28/21)

Weeks later, the City of Sanibel selected Naples’ interim city manager to be its city manager, leaving Naples’ city manager spot open once again. (Naples’ former City Manager, Charles Chapman, resigned last May.)

At a Special Meeting on October 14, Council voted unanimously to appoint DeMaria as interim city manager (in addition to fire chief) while the search for a permanent replacement for Chapman continues. Council will later have to consider how to pay DiMaria for the additional responsibilities. (Naples Daily News, 10/14/21)

Affordable Housing

Last month we wrote that the City Council, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, is working to create an Affordable Housing Strategy for the Naples Community Redevelopment district. (Sparker’s Soapbox, 9/27/21)

This month, a Workshop on the topic was convened but canceled minutes after it started with a 4-3 vote due to low public attendance. NAACP President Vincent Keeys, who requested the postponement, blamed the low turnout on insufficient public notice. He also said the people who are most affected by the lack of affordable housing were not present because the meeting was held when most people are working. (Naples Daily News, 10/15/21)


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 meetings on October 4 and October 18. See agendas, minutes, and video replays here.

2040 Comprehensive Plan

The City of Marco Island has been working toward adoption of an updated 20-year plan as required every ten years by Florida law. At its October 4 meeting, councilors voted 6-1 to approve the amended document for transmittal back to Tallahassee for final acceptance. (Coastal Breeze News, 10/7/21)

Rejecting the CAT

For years, Marco Island has struggled with increasing traffic and parking needs. After a 2-1/2 year period, the city’s Ad Hoc Parking Solutions Committee suggested working with the Collier Area Transportation (CAT) Authority to improve service to the island. But failure to adequately explain what was being proposed resulted in so much resident protest that, at its October 18 meeting, the idea was shelved. (Coastal Breeze News, 10/21/21)

Short-Term Rental Ordinance

As in other parts of Collier County and across the nation, whether or how to regulate short-term rentals has become a serious problem on Marco Island. At its October 18 meeting, councilors considered a proposed vacation rental registration program. However, a proposed ordinance did not gain support from the majority of councilors and ultimately failed. (Coastal Breeze News, 10/28/21)


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 October 12. See agenda here and video archive here.

Learning Express

At its October 12 meeting, the School Board voted unanimously to convert an out-of-service school bus to a mobile classroom to reach its most vulnerable students. Funded by federal, state, and competitive grants, the Learning Express bus will provide pre-K literacy classes, out-of-school youth English and life skills classes, parental English classes, and homework help. (WINK News, 10/12/21; Naples Daily News, 10/25/21)

Parents’ Bill of Rights

At its October 12 meeting, the School Board adopted a new Policy 5780.01 “Parents’ Bill of Rights, as required by a new Florida law.

The purpose of the policy is “to ensure that the fundamental rights of a parent to direct and oversee the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of his or her child is not infringed upon absent a showing by the District that any such action is (a) reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest; (b) must be narrowly tailored; and (c) not otherwise served by a less restrictive means.”

Risk Assessment Refresh

At its October 12 meeting, the Board voted unanimously to engage RSM US LLP, an outside audit, tax, and consulting firm, to perform a “refresh of the high-risk areas of focus, as well as follow-up activities and reporting related to prior issued audit reports” at a cost of $35,000. (RSM US LLP Statement of Work)

By way of background, in June 2018, the Board engaged RSM to conduct internal audits of the District’s Timekeeping (employee time and attendance records) and Self-Insurance Fund (for workers compensation and health benefits). (Naples Daily News, 6/22/18)


Other County 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.

“Since the 2020 General Election, the integrity of our elections has been called into question nationwide, including right here in our local community,” wrote Collier Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards in an email to elected officials and in a message on Facebook. “Unfortunately, with an increase of misinformation spreading rapidly with false allegations about the integrity of our elections, we continue to see the confidence of our voters decline…. If you would like to learn more about elections in Collier County or the security measures that we have in place, I invite you to reach out to our office to learn more about our operation.”


The Collier County Sheriff’s Office claimed that undocumented immigrants with felony records are moving to the county after crossing the border. The statement was made during a discussion with Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. NBC-2.com, 10/7/21


The Collier County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit has launched a pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign and will be conducting high-visibility enforcement details at nine locations through May 2022. CCSO Press Release, 10/7/21


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

“The Florida dream is alive and well, and we’re going to fight to protect it, but we need to do it together,” Kathleen Passidomo said, in a 15-minute speech following her designation as the next president of the Florida Senate. (Naples Republican Kathleen Passidomo set to become Florida’s next Senate President, USA Today Network-Florida via Herald-Tribune, 10/19/21)


“It’s a very dangerous situation when you decide to take away anybody’s rights,” said Bob Rommel. Rommel drafted a bill whose main provisions were incorporated into a law that took effect this summer, allowing the governor to squelch local health orders deemed too restrictive. Citing that law, Gov. Ron DeSantis’s government, which has been aggressive in slapping down local restrictions, fined Leon County $3.5 million for mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for its employees — $5,000 for each person required to get a shot. The state has threatened to levy millions of dollars more in fines for similar county mandates. (Why Public Health Faces a Crisis Across the U.S., NYTimes, 10/20/21)


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

H.R. 5305 – Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act — Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022, for providing emergency assistance, and more.
Diaz-Balart — Yay; Donalds — Nay
Passed — 220/211 on 9/30/21

H.Res. 730 – Recommending that the House of Representatives find Stephen K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol
Diaz-Balart — Nay; Donalds — Nay
Passed — 220/211 on 10/21/21


Local news reported in this post is by Jake Allen, Rachel Fradette, Laura Layden, Rachel Heimann Mercader, Omar Rodriguez Ortiz, Karl Schneider (Naples Daily News); Steve Stefanides (Coastal Breeze News); and Taylor Wirtz (WINK News).

That’s some of the top news for Collier County voters in October. Thank you for wanting to be a more informed voter!

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