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A neighborhood information meeting about a proposed apartment complex in Collier County has been rescheduled at a larger venue this month after a meeting last month was canceled when too many people showed up. 

The public meeting regarding the rezoning of property on the southwest corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Collier Boulevard has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 13 at the Paradise Coast Sports Complex, 3940 City Gate Blvd. S., Naples. The initial information meeting on the issue was canceled May 17 when more than 200 people in attendance exceeded the 79-person capacity of the venue, Greater Naples Fire Rescue Station No. 73 on Collier Boulevard.

“We were well over that. We did not expect so many people,” said Collier County Zoning Division Principal Planner Eric Ortman. Thousands will be able to attend the rescheduled meeting, which will be held outside at the county sports complex, Ortman said.

County representatives are merely attendees of the meeting, though, which is hosted by the applicant, represented by land-use attorney Richard Yovanovich and Peninsula Engineering, part of the Naples-based Barron Collier Companies. Miami-based 13th Floor Investments LLC is listed as the sole owner of the land on a property ownership enclosure form filed with the county but the investment firm does not actually own the parcels yet, county property records show. Arnaud Karsenti, managing principal of 13th Floor Investments, could not be reached for comment.

Although 331 low-rise multifamily dwelling units are proposed for the property, formal plans for an apartment complex have not been presented yet. Before that can occur, more than 20 acres on the corner across from the Winn-Dixie-anchored Mission Hills shopping center and St. Agnes Catholic Church would have to be rezoned and the county’s small-scale growth management plan would have to be amended to permit multifamily housing there.

The proposed project’s site is zoned Estates and comprised of some parcels that have single-family homes on them that will be demolished for the redevelopment. The petitioner seeks to change the zoning designation from Estates to Planned Unit Development (PUD).

The proposal specifically seeks the creation of the Vanderbilt-Collier PUD on 20.38 acres, which is comprised of five privately-owned parcels and two county-owned parcels. The majority of the property is forested or undeveloped. Some of the subject property runs along Seventh Avenue Northwest, a rural residential street in Golden Gate Estates, where neighbors have concerns about development intensity and infrastructure issues such as increased traffic and water use, according to the Golden Gate Estates Area Civic Association.

According to details from the petitioner, the intent of the proposed small-scale growth management amendment is to request the removal of the properties from the Golden Gate Area Master Plan, redesignate the site to an urban designation and establish the Vanderbilt-Collier Residential Subdistrict. The proposed subdistrict would permit residential density up to a maximum of 16 units per acre. The land use patterns will transition from single-family to multifamily to commercial uses in the subject area. 

The Vanderbilt-Collier Residential Subdistrict addresses housing affordability with 20% of the units on the privately-owned parcels being reserved for those earning 80% to 120% of Collier’s area median income (AMI) and 100% of the units on the county-owned parcels for residents in income and rental ranges as approved by Collier commissioners. A companion PUD rezoning proposal will provide development standards and developer commitments that will address the compatibility of the multifamily project with the adjacent single-family residential lots, such as the location of preserves and increased setbacks, county records show.

Access to the site is proposed as a directional left-in/right-in/right-out driveway connection onto eastbound Vanderbilt Beach Road. No other new connections are proposed as part of the application, according to a traffic impact statement on file.

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