OPINION

Guest opinion: One Naples has 'morphed from truly outrageous to simply atrocious'

Buzz Victor
Special to the Naples Daily News

Brian Stock was given his opportunity, in this space, to present his proposed One Naples development to the community. I have respect for Mr. Stock and his company. He has done many good things. Sadly, One Naples will not be one of them.

Mr. Stock compares his Vanderbilt Beach neighborhood project with the Ritz Carlton and the “luxury condominium towers of Pelican Bay.” He fails to point out that Pelican Bay is a 2,100 acre Planned Development, nearly 400 times larger than his own site, with extensive building setback requirements and more than 500 acres of open space.

It is true that One Naples, as currently proposed, has changed significantly from its original design. It has morphed from truly outrageous to simply atrocious. Stock seeks a density of up to 172 residential units in a coastal high hazard area where 87 are permitted. He seeks building heights of 186 feet where County Planning staff has stated that 76 feet is compatible with the neighborhood. He seeks fifteen-foot setbacks to a wall 35 feet high stretching more than 700 feet along Vanderbilt Beach Road and Gulf Shore Drive. Setbacks to his 186-foot towers range between 25 and 30 feet where the requirement is for 93 feet. He seeks to count second floor private amenities such as swimming pools and cabanas as a significant portion of the required open space. True, he offers to provide numerous area improvements, traffic lights, bicycle paths, etc. But these come at the cost of destroying a neighborhood. And who really benefits? Just Stock, himself, and 172 new condominium owners.

Here's a rendering for One Naples project provided by its developer, Stock Development.

Lately, Mr. Stock has been taking out advertisements promoting One Naples in the same way that his opinion piece did. Does he “protest too much?” If One Naples were the wonderful development he describes, would such advertisements be necessary? Would he have to offer a nearby condominium project inducements valued at over $500,000 in order to solicit a letter of support?

Recently, Save Vanderbilt Beach and other neighborhood groups have sponsored a “Growth Management Survey” to determine community attitudes toward growth and development throughout Collier County. As of this writing 2,125 responses to the survey have been received. More than 92% of them have called for County Commissioners to deny the amendment to the County’s Growth Management Plan (GMP) that Stock seeks. These numbers fly in the face of Mr. Stock’s statement that he is “encouraged by the many who enthusiastically await our project.”

If constructed, One Naples will be a disaster for Vanderbilt Beach. It will mark the beginning of the “Miamification” of the neighborhood. No longer will future developers have to point to Pelican Bay to justify their too dense, too tall, aspirations. They will simply have to point to One Naples to make their case that their design is compatible and complementary to the area.

County Commissioners meet on March 1 to consider Stock’s requests. Save Vanderbilt Beach Inc has been joined by the Vanderbilt Beach Residents Association, the Naples Park Area Association, the Pelican Bay Property Owners Association, the Collier County Presidents Council, and thousands of others throughout the County in demanding that the Commissioners deny Stock’s request to amend the GMP.

Will the commissioners be deaf to the demands of their constituents as they have many times in the past? If so, watch out, Collier County, you are on your way to becoming the Miami of the west coast.

Buzz Victor is President for Save Vanderbilt Beach, Inc.