Stock Development failed to obtain a recommendation of approval from the Collier County Planning Commission of its plan for One Naples at Vanderbilt Beach Road and Gulf Shore Drive at the November 5th meeting.
After three sessions of hearings, lasting more than twenty total hours, motions to recommend approval of a change to the Growth Management Plan and for a modified rezoning/development plan, failed on a tie, vote, 3 -3.
The meeting began on an unusual note in which Chairman, Mr. Fryer, removed himself from the proceedings on the advice of the County Attorney after Stock’s attorney, Richard Yovanovich, objected to Mr. Fryer hearing the matter based upon Mr. Fryer handing out a table he had prepared from previous testimony and evidence showing setbacks and heights of existing neighborhood buildings.
The final day of hearing public testimony, from seven speakers representing Save Vanderbilt Beach Inc, an 1,100-member not-for-profit supporting reasonable development, as well as speakers representing the 950 member Vanderbilt Beach Residents Association, the Regatta, and the Pelican Bay Property Owners Association.
All spoke in opposition to the project as currently proposed. Nearly forty other speakers, members of the general public, also had an opportunity to address the Commissioners. Three voiced their approval of the project.
The day concluded with a presentation by Stock’s experts responding to previous testimony of the various Save Vanderbilt Beach experts who had presented their cases at the October 15th meeting of the Planning Commission, and comments from Mr. Yovanovich summarizing the Stock Development application.
At the conclusion, the Commissioners began their discussions in advance of their voting on whether to recommend approval or denial of the application to the Board of County Commissioners. The discussions were led by Vice Chair, Karen Homiak.
All commissioners were reluctant to support the continuation of the property’s current C-3 zoning which would allow for the development of a commercial project based on concerns with traffic.
Messrs. Klucik and Schmitt, in general supported Stock’s proposed plan. Mr. Shea was reluctant to do so based on the tremendous outpouring from the community opposing it, stating that his role on the Commission was to be a steward of the Growth Management Plan and to listen to the concerns of citizens who would be living with any changes to the plan.
Mr. Fry also expressed concern based on the non-compatibility and non-complementary nature of the plan with the Vanderbilt Beach neighborhood. Mr. Vernon, new to the Commission, was also concerned about the non-compatibility and non-complementary nature of the plan, primarily the heights of the towers.
Mr. Schmitt made a motion to approve the Growth Management Plan amendment and approve a rezoning to a PUD with a reduced height of 160-feet or 12-residential stories over two stories of parking for the towers. The Stock plan had called for 14-residential stories over the two stories of parking. The motion was seconded by Ms. Homiak. Stock failed to get a recommendation of approval, when the vote resulted in a three to three tie, Messrs. Vernon, Fry and Shea voted nay, and the others voted yea.
Buzz Victor, President of Save Vanderbilt Beach, said that he was generally pleased with the vote. “A clear recommendation to deny the Stock proposal would have served the interests of our community better,” he said, “but even this outcome will convey a message to the County Commissioners that there are serious problems with the project as proposed.”
Victor went on to say how much he appreciated all of those who attended these three hearings (either in person or remotely) and especially appreciated those who testified or spoke in opposition to the Stock proposal.
This result of the Planning Commission’s hearings will be conveyed to the County Commissioners who will have the final say over the plan at a future public hearing.