Celebration Park, Bayshore neighbors each get concessions under county-brokered deal

Harriet Howard Heithaus
Naples Daily News

Celebration Park will continue to rock. But the neighbors will hear less of it.

In theory, that's the future for the Bayshore neighborhood after Collier County special magistrate Brenda Garretson accepted a county-park owner agreement Friday that restricts its volume levels.  

Neighbors are taking a wait-and-see stance.

"I'm OK with the stipulations. I guess time will tell," said Troy Komarowski, one of 10 residents who came to the previous 3½-hour meeting as well as Friday's hearing. 

Neighbors say their complaints about loud music from the food truck-and-entertainment park date back three years. They say they have talked to everyone from Celebration Park representatives to the sheriff's department without success until recently.

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Even getting to the agreement after a second violation notice against the park has been slow. The initial hearing was set for late January but was delayed until March 4 at the request of park owner Naples 2.0 attorneys.

At the March 4 hearing new information containing past complaints about the park came up. The park's attorney, John Silverfield, and Garretson decided another two weeks was necessary for review.

The open-air park, east of Becca Avenue off Bayshore Drive, has had weekend entertainment at sound levels neighboring residents say is audible indoors as well as out. That the music is close to the canal behind those homes has made the problem worse because sound travels farther over water. 

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The park had already pleaded guilty to one noise ordinance infraction March 17, 2021. The magistrate had an option to revoke its license after a second violation within one year. But the county and Celebration Park worked out an agreement that would allow it to acknowledge a violation and continue using amplified sound if it meets certain Code Enforcement Division stipulations.

"It's been a long time for the residents to get to this hopefully good resolution," said neighbor Elizabeth Baird. "For three years we've been working with Celebration Park to get them to do something like this. For three long years.

"This is a very positive development. But the proof is in the pudding."

"I congratulate everyone who participated in coming to this agreement, who was committed enough to become involved," Garretson told the group. "I'm very happy with this stipulation and very happy to accept it" — after anyone who might have a objection to it had the chance to speak, she added.

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Several of the 10 neighbors who came to the meeting were ready with concerns about the details. The negotiations were between the county and Celebration Park representatives, so neighbors had not been directly included. 

"I’m just interested when they’re going to put the baffling or the noise protectors in," Angie Komarowski said, referring to one of the stipulations. "I'm interested in whether there is a time frame involved or (they can) suggest a date when we can look forward to that."

Garretson referred her to Eric Short, district investigations supervisor of code enforcement. Short offered that some barriers already have been installed and that the county would work with an engineer being retained by Naples 2.0.

At that point, assistant county attorney Colleen Kerins warned the group against adding details to the stipulations that had been put together.

"I just don't want to derail all the hard work that's been done here this week," she said.

The long-awaited Celebration Park opened in November 2018 with eight food trucks, a full bar and more off Bayshore Drive in East Naples.

Still, the terms of the agreement were too vague to Alan Crum, a neighbor who wondered what limits might be put on the park's music speakers.

"I have a speaker in my phone and there's a speaker that's as big as my truck. Which  are they going to use?" he asked. 

Garretson told him specifying the size and model of speakers "was not a realistic expectation." Expecting them to follow the county codes for noise levels, however, was.

"If it will reassure you, they can bring back a new case," Garretson said, referring to the Code Enforcement Division.

"So it just goes on and on and on," he said. Clearly frustrated, Crum left a short time later.

"This is the basis for the order that I will enter," Garretson said of the county-owner negotiated stipulations. "And I do expect all the orders that I enter to be complied with." 

Although Garretson has accepted the stipulations, the requirements don't take effect until after she issues her order. After that, Naples 2.0 has five business days in which to amend its amplified sound permit, Short said after the meeting. 

The good news for neighbors is that the stipulations are requirements for the amended permit.

"Those conditions will be part of the permit," he said. Asked if those conditions must be completed for the permit to be approved, he responded, "Yes."

Harriet Howard Heithaus covers arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com. Reach her at 239-213-6091.

What's in the agreement

The stipulations Naples 2.0, owner of the Celebration Park, agreed to with Collier County Code Enforcement Division

  • That the park limit its music entertainment to one drum set and two vocalists, and that the band be informed of the noise limitations of the area.  However, Naples 2.0 may request temporary use permits that exceed these limitations. 
  • That amplified music end at 9 p.m. weekdays, 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
  • That music speakers be limited to two, and that they face "downward and toward the street and not toward residential properties."
  • That a Naples 2.0 representative perform nightly sound checks and that the volume, once approved by the representative, not be increased. Naples 2.0 must also keep a log of the time and date of each sound check, the sound level and the identity of the musical group involved.
  • That Naples 2.0 install sound barriers or absorbers to keep sound away from the water. The locations of the barriers must be on an aerial-perspective drawing that is part of its amplified sound permit.
  • That an amendment of the current amplified sound permit used by Celebration Park clarify that it is under the entity of Naples 2.0. There had been confusion about whether the permit, and any violation notices, should have gone to Celebration Park; its owner, Naples 2.0, or Rebecca Maddox, principal in Naples 2.0.

Naples 2.0 will also pay the county's costs for prosecution — $111.80 — of the violation and a $250 fine for the violation.