Naples City Council to discuss new development approval process at Dec. 12 workshop

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Naples city council has decided immediate rule changes for home construction would not be a good idea, and the approval process for new development projects will be discussed at a workshop on Dec. 12.

A staff recommendation on the agenda includes amending the site plan process to require City Council 3 review and approval for the following projects that are located in any non-residential zoning district or multifamily zoning district:

  • A new principal building or structure
  • An addition to an existing structure that is greater than 1,000 square feet; or
  • Landscaping, lighting, paving and restriping projects exceeding 10,000 square feet
  • Single-family residences and structures located in single-family residential districts are excluded from this division.

According to a staff report to be discussed Dec. 12,  a proposed amendment to site plan regulations would ensure “that city council shall have final review and approval authority for site plans and amendments to site plans.

“This would require all new development projects in non-residential or multifamily zoning districts to be reviewed by the planning advisory board and approved by city council, and would provide a public notice to all owners of property within 1,000 feet of the subject property, consistent with the regulations of Section 46-45 of the Code.

With more than $1 billion in damage from Hurricane Ian, Naples officials proposed changing rules in October – putting limits on lot coverage and building area and requiring more landscaping – to prevent “investors who want to maximize their profits by building bigger, not necessarily better.”

However, after growing opposition to the plan, council voted against the proposals.

Dozens of people attended a council meeting, including builders and architects, to voice their concern about the timing of the proposed changes, so soon after Hurricane Ian.

Kathy Curatolo, legislative liaison for the Collier Building Industry Association spoke at a recent council meeting, calling for consultation with the construction industry in the process of code changes.

“Contractors are overwhelmed, not only with the current projects in place, but the devastation of Ian,” she said.

Local builder Mike Rinaldi agreed, calling the process “sneaky.”

“Don’t look for a problem,” he said. “Don’t look for overregulation. Just try to correct some of the flooding issues that have occurred.”

The controversial changes were proposed to reduce the footprint of concrete and promote more green space in neighborhoods and communities.

However, opponents warn that modifications “could do more harm than good” and council directed staff to consider hiring an outside expert to look at code changes in a more comprehensive way that could help minimize property damage from future hurricanes.

Council’s workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall Council Chambers 735 8th St. S. The agenda is available here.

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