Could Collier County turn into a Mini-Miami?
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – When most people hear “Collier County,” one of the first things that comes to mind is the Naples Pier.
The landmark is bustling with tourists and residents, as one of Southwest Florida’s most popular attractions.
But, Naples hasn’t always been a vacation destination, many factors have changed over the last 100 years.
“It’s not that it won’t change and it’s not that it hasn’t changed and will continue to change and it should change,” explained Buzz Victor, Founder of Save Vanderbilt Beach. “I mean everything does. But things need to be changed in a rational way.”
North of the pier is Vanderbilt Beach. It’s populated with both beachside development and lagoon side development.
“I came to call it the potential for the ‘Miamification of Naples,” Victor said.
Collier County commissioners recently approved the “One Naples” project. The corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Gulfshore Drive is expected to have two 12-story towers, three 6-story towers, and 75 boat slips once completed.
Due to fear over losing the conservation of the pristine coastline, Victor took action creating his “Save Vanderbilt Beach” group. In two years, more than $140,000 has been raised to hire lawyers and traffic engineers to fight the plan. But, it didn’t work.
On the other side of the county, people living in Golden Gate Estates fear their peaceful, spacious neighborhoods will soon be filled with more hustle and bustle.
“We want it to slow down,” explained RaeAnn Burton, a Golden Gate Estates resident. “We want them to back up and look at the necessary.”
Burton has been using her voice to speak out against development in the rural estates.
“We’re just upset. It seems like there’s immense growth going on out here,” Burton said.
Developers want to combine the Rivergrass, Longwater, and Bellmar Villages to create a community called The Town of Big Cypress, a home to 11,000 people.
“I think the historic trends of roughly 2-percent annual growth per year is still taking place,” explained Thaddeus Cohen with Collier County Growth Management. “So you may have a spike sometime during the year but that levels off as the years go on.”
It may still be a couple of years before you’ll see “One Naples” or “The Town of Big Cypress” come to fruition.
Right now, developers are only going through the permitting process.