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Santa Barbara Davis rock crushing operations

A resolution is in sight for a highly visible rock-crushing operation that has been the subject of many code enforcement complaints on the southeast corner of Santa Barbara and Davis boulevards in East Naples. 

Construction and demolition debris dumped on the property adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County has been an issue for a couple of years because of its unsightliness as well as the noise and airborne dust caused by the on-site crushing of the material to create construction fillThe concrete debris is intended to be used to build up the foundation of the more than 82-acre property for the Taormina Reserve mixed-used planned unit development. 

The property is owned by Highland Properties of Lee & Collier, whose general partner, Harrison Hubschman of Naples, was found in violation of county ordinances regarding the unauthorized accumulation of litter and improper storage of waste material and construction and demolition debris. At the end of a 35-minute code enforcement hearing on Friday, Hubschman was ordered by Special Magistrate Patrick Neale to pay a civil penalty of $1,000 and to abate the violation by removing all unauthorized accumulation of litter or to obtain the required approval and permits to allow the on-site use of the materials within 30 days. If not, a fine of $1,000 will be imposed for each day the violation remains, Neale said. 

Hubschman said he plans to contract with Earth Tech to crush all of the material on the property within about 120 days after obtaining the necessary environmental resource permit from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Hubschman previously was working with Cadenhead Construction’s Bobby Cadenhead, who died in February. 

Work at the site ended in November, though, when the water management district pulled the environmental resource permit (ERP) for the property, which includes 30 acres of preserved land. The ERP will have to be reissued before work can be restarted.

It couldn’t be soon enough for Cathy Novy, a resident of Firano, the gated community on Davis Boulevard that borders the controversial property. Speaking at Friday’s hearing, Novy referred to the property as the “city dump,” which she said has left a layer of silica dust on neighboring lanais for more than two years. “We are not going to be silent until you remove that concrete. I don’t care how much noise it makes in this county but the county is responsible for allowing it to begin with,” she said during sworn testimony. “If this was North Naples, would I be having this discussion and standing up here?”  

The issue has been the topic of discussion at a few recent meetings of the Collier County Commission. At the June 14 board meeting, Commissioner Burt Saunders asked county staff to put more pressure on the property owner to crush that material and be done with the project. He pushed to bring the abandoned project before the hearing examiner for a daily fine as long as it is in violation. “I’d like for code enforcement to make that happen as quickly as possible,” Saunders said. 

A SFWMD permit must be obtained and maintained before construction work can begin for a site development plan providing stormwater management, which this site would do, said Jaime Cook, director of the county’s Growth Management Review. “It is required for all sites with more than 10 acres in size and 2 acres of impervious surface, so a water management district environmental resource permit is required for this property regardless of what is built on it in the future.”

Hubschman produced paperwork Friday to show he has been working diligently to get his SFWMD permit reissued and get approval for crushing and filling material on site. “We submitted that application on (Aug. 1),” he said. “We expect to get that crushing and filling permit from them, which we’ve been told by Collier County if we got that they would immediately take away the stop-work order and allow us to go to work.” 

At the end of Friday’s hearing, Hubschman provided an idea of a resolution timeline. “We estimate 120 days to completely finish the project with weather permitting and breakdowns of machinery and that sort of thing,” he said. 

“Let’s hope that’s true,” Magistrate Neale said. 

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