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2002-09-07
Naples, FL. Floridians Cut Big Boxes down to size with 65,000 s.f. cap.

The North Bay Civic Association in Naples, Florida is declaring victory this week over big box stores. Three years ago, a piece of property in Naples known as Lawmetka Plaza.was rezoned from neighborhood commercial, to a Planned District with larger commercial potential. Shortly after the rezoning, the land was sold to the Benderson Development company (search this database). Benderson announced that it wanted to put a Home Depot on Lawmetka. Residents challenged the legality of this use, saying that the character and intensity of the parcel's use had never been reclassified from neighborhood commercial. They prepared a lawsuit. Home Depot then abandoned the project, heading for another county. The developer Benderson agreed to file for a rezone, so residents put their civil action on hold, and began working with the county's Planning Commission on a new ordinance for this parcel which would limit any single commercial building to 65,000 s.f. "That limitation addresses squarely the fears of neighborhood residents that another big box superstore -- Lowe's, Target, Wal-Mart -- would pop up on the property," the North Bay Civic Association wrote. The land is at the gateway to the gulfside area known as North Bay. Residents feel that a 65,000 s.f. limit will rule out big boxes that need twice that space, or more. The developer has agreed to the limit, and the Collins County Commission is expected to make it final in October.

What you can do: "Some would see this story as a good illustration of an activated group's attainment of a goal by 'working the system, wrote RL Caron of the North Bay Civic Association. "Others would interpret it as another example of citizens having to resort to legal action to force the government to observe its own laws." Either way, residents of the North Bay have won a victory against over-sized stores. For more information, go to www.northbaycivic.org/Zoning.htm, and search this site by "Naples".










 
 
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