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Collier Commissioners approve controversial development in Golden Gate Estates

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After public hearings this week, Collier County commissioners amended the land development code and zoning regulations for the county’s unincorporated area to allow the development of up to 400 residential units and 150,000 square feet of commercial buildings in an area known as Randall Curve on the northeastern corner of Immokalee Road and Fourth Street N.E. in Golden Gate Estates.

Tuesday’s action changes the zoning for the more than 50 acres on the west side of Immokalee Road just after the road turns north from its east-west path across North Naples. That Estates (E) zoning district now is a mixed-use planned unit development (MPUD) zoning district to allow the scope of development proposed for Randall Curve. A separate amendment altered the rural Golden Gate Estates sub-element of the Golden Gate Area Master Plan and the Rural Golden Gate Estates Future Land Use Map to create the Immokalee Road/4th Street N.E. Mixed Use Subdistrict by changing the designation of the property from the Estates-Mixed Use District, Residential Estates Subdistrict, to the Estates-Mixed Use District, Immokalee Road/4th Street N.E. Mixed Use Subdistrict.

The legislative action occurred despite a petition signed by more than 1,000 residents of Golden Gate Estates opposing large-scale development of that property in what already is a busy area with vehicles traveling from the eastern Estates and northern Collier converging at Randall Boulevard and Immokalee Road during morning and afternoon rush hours.

“This petition is to stop the building of 400-plus apartments, storage facilities and other things that our community in Golden Gate Estates does not need nor want. The extra 800 cars that the apartments could potentially bring to an already congested and accident-prone area is dangerous and irresponsible,” the petition reads in part. “Their plan is to take down 40-plus acres of habitat to build these unnecessary structures. They sold it to us by saying they were building things to help with the need to go into town and the traffic. They are doing exactly the opposite by creating more traffic and more congestion. They are displacing the wildlife with their greed and expansion mayhem.”

William McDaniel, the county commissioner representing that area in District 5, said he knows there’s a large amount of traffic near that intersection, but he said the county can’t legally stop a property owner from using land simply because the area is congested.

In June 2019, Collier commissioners unanimously accepted an offer by Crown Management Services to purchase the county-owned Randall Curve property for commercial development. Specific development plans have not been approved yet.

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