NAPLES — Check back Wednesday at naplesnews.com for a live blog on the Celebration Church discussion.
Naples City Council this morning is set to discuss Celebration Community Beach Church’s five-year use agreement with the city.
The non-exclusive use agreement allows the church to rent out the Cambier Park band shell each Sunday for its services.
The church uses the park most Sunday mornings from 8 until 10:30 a.m., and, according to a memo from Community Services Director David Lykins, “is treated consistently in comparison to other groups renting a public park.”
Lykins went on to say the church “pays rental fees on time, complies with park use policies, voluntarily relocated to other locations in the park during large community events or concerts scheduled at the band shell and leaves the park grounds in good condition following each use.”
The four-year-old use agreement — set to expire in November 2010 — means that if any other organization wants to rent out the property on a Sunday, the church needs to relocate.
The fact that the church relocates is key to its use agreement. Lykins said his department has received no complaints from park neighbors about the church’s Sunday morning activities.
The church has been under fire in recent months as the end of its five-year use agreement draws near. In February, community services board member Audrey Bender resigned from her position after the board said it would not discuss the agreement until the fall.
The discussion first popped up last year when council requested the board to look at special events in downtown Naples. Board members at the time said they felt the church needed to be included in discussions because of the number of people who attended the services each week.
Naples Mayor Bill Barnett at the time asked that any discussions about the church be postponed until November, when council would discuss whether to renew the church’s use agreement.
The discussion — and ultimately the decision about the use agreement — was scheduled for a year in advance so the church could have time to find a new location if need be.
The city’s community services advisory board last month unanimously supported renewing the use agreement.
City Attorney Bob Pritt has said board members who belong to Celebration church do not need to abstain from making decisions about the use agreement, since they won’t see a financial gain or loss because of the decision.
The discussion about Celebration Community Beach Church is scheduled for 9 a.m.
In other Naples City Council business:
■Naples City Council will consider a request from the Third Street South Merchants Association to hold an open air farmers market from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 12 on Third Street South. The one-day event will consist of about 50 booths selling produce and flowers. The organization is asking the city to waive the $5,850 worth of event fees.
■ Collier County Commissioner Fred Coyle will be at Naples City Council at 8:30 a.m. to discuss transportation concurrency with Collier County’s growth management plan.
Naples City Council meets at 8:30 a.m. at Naples City Hall, Eighth Street South.
Connect with Naples reporter Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster at www.naplesnews.com/staff/jenna_buzzacco