Breaking Ground newsletter: Early stages of developing an area the size of two Fort Lauderdales
Collier Enterprises has begun making its case to allow two mega-developments totaling more than 5,300 homes in the eastern part of the county known as the Rural Lands Stewardship Area.
It would tie in with a third 2,500-unit village within a region slotted for developing about 45,000 acres or the size of two Fort Lauderdales. That acreage greatly surpasses what the public intended and was told almost two decades ago during numerous community gatherings on environmentally sensitive territories.
At a hearing last week, resident after resident spoke against plans. Among the concerns: the cost to taxpayers, the cost to the environment and the cost to the future of the endangered Florida panther.
The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 18 on the third floor of the administration building at 3299 Tamiami Trail E., Naples.
Residents can also view it on the web by going to colliercountyfl.gov and clicking on the Collier TV LIVE button on the left side of the page. To participate in the session as a speaker remotely, keep checking this link in the coming days to see the agenda and register. It was not ready as of earlier this week.
Interior Department says Whoa Nelly
The doings on Collier's eastern frontier has drawn the interest of the U.S. Interior Department.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which falls under the Interior, wants local leaders to take a pause and work through some questions before proceeding with more building approvals in the Rural Lands Stewardship Area.
Its focus includes impacts on water quality, wetlands, flow-ways and habitats for wildlife.
And there's also the issue of controlled burns that are conducted to reduce the chances of "catastrophic" wildfires and manage the ecosystem, Fish and Wildlife's Kevin Godsea said. These are often prescribed in the 26,609-acre Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, adjacent to the RLSA, and away from I-75 and State Road 29 motorists.
"These prescriptions are in place to mitigate risk of serious traffic accidents on those major roads, and cannot be changed, leaving the locations for high-density residential and commercial developments in the RLSA directly in the path of our current smoke management protocols," Godsea said.
More growth and development news
» The deal is done, and it's HUUGJA! for followers of Kia dealer Billy Fuccillo's commercials. The sale of the land on which his dealership sits became official this week.
» Diversification certainly is the name of the game for companies trying to grow. One of them is a marine filtration company that has established a new Southwest Florida manufacturing plant to create face masks, according to a subscriber exclusive story by David Dorsey.
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