Breaking Ground newsletter: County Commission approves luxury project with little public review of last-minute changes

Phil Fernandez
Naples Daily News

Among numerous changes presented just before the Collier County Commission voted this week: The One Naples luxury project a block from Vanderbilt Beach will have a larger footprint under its massive shadow.

It's now growing to more than six acres with acquisition of adjacent land under substantially altered plans the commission approved in a 4-1 vote without the usual public or extensive staff or advisory board reviews many residents expected.

Taxpayers are also giving up some of their right-of-way as part of multiple moves related to high-rise towers and other aspects opposed by thousands of residents, who have expressed their dismay through the Save Vanderbilt Beach group and other platforms.

Coming into Monday, a big part of the county staff's planned presentation at the public meeting was based on Stock Development's plan submitted months ago that had received scrutiny at various levels of government. That immense effort quickly became irrelevant when developers suddenly revealed new ideas, and four commissioners followed along.

But not all of them: "This is the most controversial and probably one of the most important issues we've had before us in many, many years," said Commissioner Penny Taylor, baffled by her colleagues' rush to push this through. "It's prudent for all parties to pause and assess the development. It needs to be thought out."

Oil Well Road, photographed on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

The result of a last-minute move

It was another last-minute revision without public review almost 20 years ago that is resulting in considerably more of eastern Collier to be developed than what residents, environmentalists and the state were initially promised.

Projects and a planned town tied to that decision are scheduled for public discourse at Thursday's planning board meeting, which begins at 9 this morning for those receiving today's newsletter. 

Thaddeus Cohen, who oversees the growth management department, had tried to bypass a town vote by that board last month, and instead take it straight to the County Commission, which has been supporting Collier Enterprises proposals lately. In fact, the two latter entities have joined forces in legally fighting environmentalists.

But planning chairman Edwin Fryer and the panel said citizens should have the opportunity to weigh in on a deal ironed out behind closed doors by developers and county planners.

Hertz CEO, Mark Frissora,  along with Florida Governor Rick Scott formally  made the announcement Tuesday May,7, 2013 at Southwest Florida International Airport that the Hertz Corporation is moving its world headquarters to Estero.

More growth and development news

» Hertz has a $4.2 billion plan to try to get out of bankruptcy sooner. The Southwest Florida company would have new ownership.

» Dr. Jonathan Frantz, who established his eye care practice in Southwest Florida in 1994, will have 22 times the space as his original office. Work is beginning on a new, $20 million, 60,000-square-foot headquarters for the now familiar name in Collier and Lee counties.

» Want to help local small businesses get back on their feet and start building up again? Here's one way.

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