January 27 Neighborhood Information Meeting Recap

Dear Neighbors,

The turnout at the January 27 NIM meeting was light. There were roughly a dozen people that spoke from the audience. Two were advocating on behalf of the Naples Senior Center ("NSC") and the rest were opposed.

Two representatives spoke representing the NSC, Wayne Arnold from Grady Minor Engineering and Jim Banks the traffic consultant, who provided a couple of changes to the plan they presented back in September.

The first change they described was related to the maximum number of daily attendees. In the September NIM, NSC represented their anticipated daily attendance at 335. They were challenged on that number by the audience and asked what the fire marshal’s max occupancy would be. The NSC representatives said they did not know what the max might be, so they returned with the compromise stating they would include a maximum of 485 daily attendance in their PUD agreement without regard to the fire marshal maximum.

They also stated they were doing an updated traffic projection using the 485 daily attendance and advised it would be available soon.

The majority of the comments opposed to the project based their opposition mainly on the traffic concerns. The NSC’s traffic consultant rejected those concerns saying their studies indicate the additional traffic did not exceed the "capacity" of our neighborhood streets. They rely heavily on the hours of operation being off peak traffic hours. Many speaking in opposition concentrated their concerns around the school bus schedules. With the morning bus schedules finishing long before the anticipated NSC traffic is expected to begin, these arguments did not get much traction.

The neighborhood association has some concerns that the opposition to this project is becoming a single issue argument that we are sure to lose. Whether we agree with the traffic studies or not is going to be irrelevant because the County Commissioners can easily assume the professional studies are reliable and base a decision to approve the applications with an understandable discounting of our unverifiable opinions and the general public resistance to higher traffic. More traffic is a given no matter what part of the county you live in and the commissioners are not likely to be swayed by our unsubstantiated positions on the issue.

The neighborhood association strongly believes that the only persuasive arguments we have will be based on the permanent negative alteration of the general character of our community in direct conflict with the well-established master plan for this area of the county without any offsetting greater good for all concerned. We believe we have to give the commissioners an argument they can base what we believe will be a politically unpopular decision for some very powerful political forces in our county. We believe the commissioners have an obligation to honor the intentions of the master plan unless and until there is an indisputable conflict that can only be resolved with an alteration like what is being proposed by NSC.

If you agree with the Oakes Estates Neighborhood Association Board, and over 250 of your fellow residents, that this proposal to alter the master plan for our neighborhood should be stopped you will need to help your neighborhood by showing up when the county officials are deliberating publicly.

The following dates are critical to our efforts: March 3, 7pm – Oakes Estates Neighborhood Annual Meeting – North Naples Baptist Church, 1811 Oakes Boulevard March 5, 9am – Collier County Planning Commission Meeting, Collier County Complex Building F – public deliberation for a recommendation to the County Commissioners to approve or deny the applications for a change in the Golden Gate Master Plan to allow this rezone of the 13.6 acres at the corner of Oakes and Autumn Oaks April 14, 9am (tentative) – Collier CountyCommissioners Meeting – public deliberation and decision on approval of the applications for amendment to the Golden Gate Master Plan and companion Planned Unit Development to allow Naples Senior Center to develop 13.6 acres as an institutional facility beginning with a 30,000 square foot two story commercial building.

Please mark your calendars now. More information will be provided as these dates approach.

Sincerely,

Tom Ellis, President
Oakes Neighborhood Association