DEP gives opponents more time to challenge Vanderbilt Beach restrooms project

— The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has given opponents of a proposed bathroom and concession building at Vanderbilt Beach more time file a legal challenge to the project.

DEP general counsel Thomas Beason signed the order this week, giving a coalition of residents and homeowners groups until Jan. 20 to decides its next move.

The group includes North Naples residents Rollin Rhea, Robert Naegele Jr., and Pat Kimbrough, the Vanderbilt Beach Residents Association, the Mangrove Action Group and homeowners groups at Beachwalk, Beachwalk Gardens, Beachmoore, Pelican Bay and The Remington at Bay Colony.

Attorneys and engineers for the North Naples Community Alliance will be reviewing Collier County's application for a variance from state rules about how far landward of the dunes structures must be built, spokeswoman Kathy Robbins said in a written statement released this week.

The DEP granted a variance Oct. 31 for the 3,800-square-foot elevated structure, the first step of a two-step state permitting process. The final permit still is pending.

Opponents say the $1.2 million project is too big and doesn't fit in the neighborhood, but supporters say it is needed for adequate public amenities at the popular North Naples beach.

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