Another Important Zoning Meeting: May 10, 2017

Short story:
Every 10 years, the City of Naples revises its master planning document, called the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan. The Planning Advisory Board (PAB) is beginning its final deliberations on the proposed changes. These changes will have significant impacts on all aspects of the City’s development for the next decade.
The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. this Wednesday morning in the City Council chambers, as the last item on the agenda which will likely be considered at 9:30 a.m. or later, though one can never be sure.
Please attend! Your presence sends a strong signal, you will learn a great deal about what is likely to come, and you may speak to the PAB if you wish.
The meeting materials may be reviewed here as attachments linked to agenda item #11.

Longer Story:
The Planning Advisory board is scheduled to review proposed changes to the Comprehensive (Growth Management) Plan at the upcoming May 10, 2017 PAB Meeting. The meeting will be held in the City Council chamber.

The Comprehensive Plan serves as the definitive guide for managing all growth in the City of Naples.

Despite good intentions, the workload involved in the Planning Office limited their ability to involve the public in an accessible way in the reviewing and updating of the Comprehensive Plan. A number of outreach initiatives proposed in the November 2016 City Council Workshop to actively educate and engage members of the community have not been implemented.
There has also been relatively limited discussion of the overall vision for the City, which is the foundation of the Comprehensive Plan. It seems like a missed opportunity to do some strategic thinking, rather than just satisfy State requirements for regular updates and inclusion of some other perhaps not so helpful changes.
We encourage you to come and voice your concerns regarding appropriate changes in the City’s Vision Plan in particular. The original vision of our several City plans – including the most recent 2007 Vision Plan component – was clearly to maintain the small-town charm and character of the City, recognize that Naples is primarily a residential City, and to ensure that there was sufficient infrastructure to support growth.
The shrinking regulation in the revised Comprehensive Plan – including the removal of specific plans and protections for the City’s residential neighborhoods – has been associated with a corresponding relaxation of the Land Development (Zoning) Code (LDC) and an increase in waivers and deviations from the LDC to permit more intense development.

What should we do?

Given our concerns regarding the drift of the City of Naples away from maintaining a small and charming residential City environment, we believe that the City should simply approve the minimum changes required by Florida Statutes, and then reboot their effort to successfully engage the entire City – including its residents, taxpayers and voters – in a City-wide discussion of where the City should go over the next 10 years.
Therefore, we would ask you to consider the following message to the PAB (and City Council):

  • The City adopt only those changes required by State law at this time
  • That we have an extensive City-wide process including substantial community involvement for review and updating the 2007 Vision Plan
  • Based on the revised Vision Plan, we further engage the community to update the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan to implement the Vision Plan.
Please come to the meeting, listen, speak, and communicate with the PAB members, City Council members and the Planning staff. They do want your input.
John Lehmann
President, Old Naples Association
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