COLLIER COUNTY COMMISSION BLOG: Commissioners involved in heated dispute over Mirasol

UPDATE: 4:15 p.m.

A heated dispute over the Mirasol development has been going on for a couple of hours. Those active in the environmental community continue to stress the natural water flow ways and preservation of woodstork habitat. They prefer shallow water.

The Mirasol planned unit development is inconsistent with the comprehensive land use plan and growth management plan, and, Naples does not need two more golf courses, speakers said.

Florida Wildlife spokeswoman Nancy Payton said her organization was originally led to believe that this was a restoration project. While Mirasol's attorney Rich Yovanovich said Florida Wildlife approved it, Payton took issue with his allegations. Florida Wildlife tentatively approved it, believing it to be an entirely different type of project.

From earlier

Collier County Tourist Development Council Director Jack Wert today presented county commissioners with a resolution, stating that Collier County opposes Florida House Bill 1219, which passed Monday night.

It would allow drilling within three miles off the Florida coastline.

Before Friday, when it breezed through committees, no one in Collier had any inkling that this was coming up, Wert said.

"Before that it was nothing more than doing a study," Wert said, noting that the TDC sees this as a possible threat to Southwest Florida.

Deputy County Manager Leo Ochs said no one from the state Legislature had alerted the county that this was coming up.

Wert said the Senate has not passed a companion bill, but TDC would like a resolution on file to send to Gov. Charlie Crist.

Wert said all of this has a lot to do with a state need for more money and revenue.

"I didn't think the whole state of Florida was up for sale," Commissioner Frank Halas said.

Commissioner Tom Henning this is really party politics.

"It gives the governor and Cabinet the right to approve drilling or not approve drilling," he said.

Henning said he spoke with a legislator, and was told this relates primarily to the Panhandle and gas there that drilling would produce.

Commission motioned for a ban on drilling within 25 miles.

Commissioner Fred Coyle supported Henning's notion that staff draft a better resolution. And, instead of drilling being left up to governor and Cabinet, such activity should require a referendum by Florida voters.

The issue was pushed off until this afternoon, after staffers can rewrite the resolution.

Earlier today:

Jane Billings of the Community Foundation addressed the Collier County Board of Commissioners.

The foundation can encourage collaboration between organizations, Billings said.

Seventy-four percent of incomes in Collier County have no retirement except for Social Security.

"They are our hidden population. They don't have adequate medical care," she said. " We have a tremendous lack of resources for our seniors in Collier."

Collier County doesn't have a senior center.

No one person or organization has a clear picture of what is happening to our seniors. The number of primary care physicians is declining dramatically, she said.

There was a commitment in 2008 to form Leadership Council on Aging. Some 50 institutions are members, who are working hard, she said. A communitywide resource assessment is underway. Second, trying to create a communications network.

"We would like to implement a local 211 hotline for seniors. We would also like to operate senior

resource center for seniors, 50 and over with limited income," she said.

"We would like that Senior Resource and Health Center be located at old Golden Gate Library, and create a central source of information.

"Would like to have Senior Friendship Center, and have Kathleen tell you about that.

"It is currently located in downtown Naples, supported by volunteer physicians, dentists, pharamcists.

There were almost 3,000 patient visits last year," she said.

"Clear, that center has to move. The building is literally falling apart. We really think it needs to be

moved, and to an area where patients come from: East Naples and Golden Gate.

"We're looking for commission to work with us to create new Senior Friendship Center and "211" system

at the old Golden Gate Library.

"We are not asking county to contribute any funding to project."

Commission Tom Henning motioned to direct staff to work with foundation, as long as there's no net loss of library space. Also, there are other places that county owns property in District 3, which is where you want to be.

Commissioners asked that staff bring this back at next meeting on how county can work with foundation. They will discuss this at the May 26 meeting.

Earlier this morning, commissioners heard an update on the swine flu outbreak, presented by county Health Department Director Dr. Joan Colfer. It is a late add-on to the agenda to be heard after a construction update on Rattlesnake Hammock Road.

Colfer said the swine flu is a rapidly evolving event. The general population has no immunity to it. Currently, it's unknown the number of cases of swine flu in Mexico.

In U.S. 40 cases in five different states, reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

" I know media has reported more," she said, but stressed that there are no reported cases in Collier.

"We do have a plan. Real quickly, (I will) give you broad brush version: rapid case-finding and case-control. Isolate that case at home, treated with antivirals, asked to stay at home until they're no longer contagious.

"We can do that for a certain number of cases, but at some time it may become unmanageable if we have hundreds and hundreds of cases.

"Then, we would have to go to community control - such as closing down schools, canceling public meetings.

"Right now, there's no reason for anyone to wear a mask, unless they have a cough or fever. We feel community is safe. If that changes, I'll be back here to tell you about that.

"The symptoms: fever, cough, but those who have a specific travel history.

"What can general public do to protect yourself? Avoid contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, or your children are sick, please stay home and do not go out.

"If you must cough, cough into your sleeve, not your hand."

p>Before that proclamations were presented to the following folks and groups.

Proclamation congratulating Mario Lanciani, CEO; Jack Morgan, Project Manager; Clay Cross, Project Engineer; Carla Morgan, and all the staff of Astaldi Construction Corp. for their green business practices and continued efforts to promote waste reduction and recycling. Their green team promotes environmental awareness and sets a positive example for others. Their initiatives will have a significant effect on sustaining the usable life of the Collier County Landfill and protecting the environment. Proclamation designating May, 2009 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness

Month. To be accepted by Russ Ueeck, President, Gator Alley Chapter, Darrin Brooks, Secretary and Legislative Trustee, Gator Alley Chapter, Tina Loy, State Delegate, Gator Alley Chapter, Rick Loy, State Delegate, Gator Alley Chapter and Dave Rich, PR Trustee, Gator Alley Chapter.

Proclamation designating April 28, 2009 as Norman Nadel Day, in celebration of Older Americans Month. To be accepted by Norman Nadel.

Proclamation congratulating Collier County Health Department and Collier County Community Development and Environmental Services departments for their exemplary effort s in striving to make the Immokalee Housing Initiative the success it has been. It was accepted by Joan Colfer, Nancy Frees, Kitchell Snow and the team from Immokalee Code Enforcement, Alamar Finnegan, and Wanda Warren. Proclamation designating May 8, 2009 as the 86th anniversary of the date Collier County was created. Commission Chairwoman Donna Fiala noted that the county was carved out by state Legislature on May 8, 1923. It was accepted by descendants of founders Browns and Roberts Family members from Immokalee, Storters

from Everglades, John Morgan, Marco Island, Collier family representatives from Mile's side and Judy's side, Sam Colding for Highway 29, Lavern Norris Gaynor, and Mary Watkin.

Proclamation designating May 3rd through May 9th, 2009 as Collier County Firefighter Appreciation Week. Accepted by Jim Squitteri, MDA Coordinator, Golden Gate Fire Department. Proclamation designating May 6 through May 12, 2009 as National Nurses Week 2009. To be accepted by Karleen Hanna, Carolyn Kloosterhouse, Pat Market, Denise McNulty, Judy Nuland, Jackie Perrine and Elaine Wade.

Proclamation designating May 17 through May 23, 2009 as National Association of Insurance Women Week. Accepted by Belinda Zivich.

Proclamation designating May, 2009 as Jill and Dan Burzynski Month in recognition of their unique scholarship program linking Naples High School students with area assisted living facility residents. Accepted by Jill an d Dan Burzynski.

Proclamation designating Tourism Week in Collier County.

Accepted by Jack Wert.

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