Days before the Naples City Council was to vote on the formation of a Park Shore taxing district, backers of the idea withdrew their proposal.
Park Shore Association President Ellen Seigel told the city of Naples in a letter Monday that considering the number of concerns residents raised about the district at last week’s workshop, going ahead with the Dec. 19 vote “would be too divisive ... at this time.”
The district would have taxed residents of the neighborhood a maximum of 0.25 mils for four years and 0.1 mils after that to pay for $2.1 million in improvements, including new paving, art and landscaping to entrances of the 43-year-old neighborhood.
For the owner of a $500,000 home, that would have meant a maximum $125 annual tax for the first four years and $50 a year after that.
Park Shore includes the northern part of Naples from the Gulf of Mexico to U.S. 41, and from Seagate Drive to the Moorings neighborhood.
The tax district needed city approval before it could go to a referendum in March for Park Shore residents to weigh in.
The Park Shore Association also took heat last week from members of the Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums, who were not involved in the planning process for the district. The Gulf Shore association oversees 36 condos along Gulf Shore Boulevard, which are also in the Park Shore neighborhood. Those residents would have been subject to the tax.
In her letter, Seigel said her association planned to work with the Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums in the future to develop a beautification plan and a way to pay for those improvements.
“It was the board’s desire to develop a reasonable, yet meaningful, concept to improve the appearance of Park Shore and to give voters a chance to make the decisions,” Seigel wrote. “We regret our proposal was not better communicated and created so much controversy for our neighborhood.”
F.E. Nortman, president of the Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums, said her group opposed the idea of the taxing district and to certain elements of the design plan.
Norton said there was no benefit for Park Shore residents who live along Gulf Shore Boulevard and already maintain common green spaces and landscaping along the street.
“We feel we do a really good job on keeping the boulevard ... but we understand Park Shore Association has some concerns and issues,” Norton said, adding that she looks forward to working with Seigel.
Because a vote on the taxing district has been advertised for a vote Wednesday, the item will remain on the agenda and will have to be withdrawn, Mayor John Sorey said. There will be a vote Wednesday, but Sorey said there likely won’t be any surprises and the council will honor Seigel’s request.
Sorey said he didn’t think residents would have voted in favor of the district.
“The tea leaves were pretty easy to read,” he said.
Jim Smith, a 15-year resident of Gulf Shore Boulevard and a dues-paying member of the voluntary Park Shore Association, said he was pleased to learn the district would not be formed.
“As a Park Shore resident of the non-shoddy and not run-down Gulf Shore Boulevard, I’m pleased the (Park Shore Association) board is withdrawing their special taxing district request,” Smith wrote in an email. “I hope their hard work does not go for naught, and I wish them the best in raising contributions from those who will benefit directly.”