Alert From Old Naples Association
April 3, 2017
Short story: The City is poised to make adverse zoning changes which may negatively impact the Old Naples neighborhood. Please spend a few minutes to become familiar with the issues, come to the City Council meeting this Wednesday to register your concerns, and alert your friends and neighbors.
The Details: We are alerting those of you who attended the February 28 meeting on the D-Downtown at City Hall with Ellen Seigel and Roger Reinke, as well as neighbors of affected Old Naples areas who are on our email list.
There is a critical meeting at City Hall this Wednesday April 5th at which the City Council (sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency or “CRA”) will review and vote on recommendations for the multitude of zoning changes for the CRA and D Downtown area. The CRA and D-Downtown are overlapping zoning areas together comprise the land south of 7th Avenue North, west of Goodlette Frank, north of 6th Avenue South, and east of 8th Street. These areas abut most of Old Naples north of 8th Avenue South as shown on the adjacent map.
These changes will have substantial and potentially negative impacts on the Old Naples neighborhood, including those residences north of Central Avenue.
What is needed at this point are several things, listed below and discussed following. Please:
● Review: Read the consultant’s recommendations
● Meet: Show up at the Wednesday April 5th City Council meeting
● Speak: Express your concerns at the meeting and by contacting City Councilors directly
● Vote: Consider getting involved now to elect City Councilors who are more responsive to their constituents’ concerns rather than those of developers.
Review: The slides containing the City’s consultant recommendations may be reviewed here, and the proposed mark-up of the Land Development Code is here. They have several major deficiencies. These deficiencies were expressed to the responsible City officials and consultants during last fall’s public input meetings, at the February 28 meeting with Councilor Ellen Seigel and Assistant City Manager Roger Reinke, and included in ONA’s subsequent letter to City Council and the Planning Board. None of ONA’s concerns have been addressed.
The recommendations of particular concern are summarized below (with references to the linked slide # here). As you read through the slides, ask yourself if they solve any of your concerns as a resident of Old Naples.
We note that the recommendations:
● Do nothing for residents: The do nothing to address the stated primary goal to “improve the quality of life for residents” (slide #3), rather they are all about facilitating large scale real estate development throughout the zone and reducing buffers protecting residential neighborhoods.
● Are vague: They create unspecified “floating” workforce housing zones (slide #15) anywhere in CRA district with no minimum lot size, with up to 50 units per acre.
● Will promote AirBnB-type transient rentals: They permit 500 square foot efficiency residences which will almost certainly be used as transient rentals rather than residences for those who work in the City (slide #15, and Sec 58-908 of the mark up.)
● May increase existing height and story limits: They appear to allow extra stories above the Charter limits for commercial zones (slide #16) and mezzanine floors (slide #28), and they alter existing Charter (Section 14.1) and land development code (Section 56.39) language limiting maximum building height to 42 feet, by deleting the phrase “or the highest point of any appurtenance attached to the roof.” (slide #28)
● Increase density:
○ They allow residential density up to 30 units an acre by right rather than conditionally in most of the CRA area (clause (a)(1) on slide #21 and mark-up at 58-907, (12)(a))
○ They reduce building setbacks from up to 50’ in some locations to a uniform 10’ (slide #23), increasing the size of buildings and reducing the open space along streets, and require “awnings, canopies and/or arcades” over all doors and windows protruding in the remaining open frontage to the street (slide #37).
○ They eliminate side yard (slide #24) and rear yard (slide #25) setbacks changing them from 10’ to 0’, further increasing the density of developments.
● Expand commercial zoning into or closer to adjacent residential areas:
○ South down to City Hall (slide #42)
○ North up to the Naples Beach Golf Course (slide #43)
○ West to 8th Street North between 6th and 7th Avenues North (slide #44) (if you live anywhere near Broad Street, NCH or 8th Street North, this is a particularly problematic change)
○ Central, converting multifamily residential to commercial (slide #46)
● Threaten or eliminate existing affordable housing: They replace multifamily, affordable residences with commercial zoning, placing business next to single family houses (8thStreet) and destroying one of Naples’s last affordable neighborhoods (River Park).
● Reduce developers’ requirements to create actual parking for their developments:
○ They allow the “sale” of existing parking spaces in the 6th Avenue South parking garage to developers to meet parking requirements for more development, without the actual creation of more parking. (slide #47) This works particularly well in season, as you may have noted!
○ They codify ways for developers to further reduce their parking requirements (slides #48 - #57)
Meet: The City Council will convene as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) on Wednesday, April 5th at City Hall after their regular City Council meeting to discuss and approve these recommendations. Despite requests from ONA, the City has declined to schedule this meeting at a specific time (“time certain”) meaning you will have to show up and sit around until the matter is discussed, beginning sometime between approximately 10AM and 1PM. The agenda for the City Council meeting is here, and the subsequent CRA meeting is here. You can watch the proceedings online starting here on Wednesday morning at 8:30AM to gauge when you might set out for City Hall that morning.
Appear and Speak: Filling the room with concerned residents is critical to impact the CRA’s response to these proposed zoning changes. If you feel so moved, please request to speak to the Council at the April 5th meeting by filling out a form and handing it to the clerk when you arrive. The Mayor is likely to resist public input, so you may have to insist on your right to speak. If you can’t make to the meeting call, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or schedule a meeting with one or more City Councilors (here).
If you choose to speak at the April 5th meeting be short and to the point. Concerns you might address are:
● The placement of commercial zones adjacent to single family residential zones (8th Street North)
● The creation of 500 square foot residence units that will end up being used as transient rental units rather than solving our work force housing problems
● The destruction of multifamily residential areas and expansion of commercial districts into residential areas at 8th Street North and River Park
● Elimination of front, side and rear setbacks leading to congested City districts and loss of small town charm
● Substantial increases in density leading to crowding, worsened traffic and more parking problems in an already congested area
● The failure to actually provide actual additional parking for visitors and residents, while parking requirements are being minimized
● Erosion of the height limits in commercial zones
Vote: At this meeting, make it clear that votes for these changes will impact your vote for City Councilors in the upcoming elections. This is particularly important. ONA’s advocacy efforts have not yet resulted in resolution of these problematic zoning proposals.
Please feel free to contact me with questions, advice and suggestions. I hope to see you the morning of Wednesday, April 5th at City Hall.
Best regards, John Lehmann
President, Old Naples Association
Mobile: (617) 633-6000 | Email: email@example.com
The Old Naples Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) civic organization dedicated to preserving the small-town charm and character of Old Naples. To volunteer or for more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t already done so, please join or renew your membership in ONA (www.oldnaplesassociation.com). Please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.