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2001-02-17
Naples, Fl. Home Depot Barraged By Opponents

Home Depot didn't even get a chance to formally file their site plans before they ran into a "barrage of complaints" from residents in Naples, FL. Last fall, Home Depot officials met with Collier County officials to discuss a project, but as of mid February, the plans have not materialized. But opposition has. Hundreds of residents have signed petitions to the County Commissioners, and a legal fund has been started to ensure citizens have legal representation in the case. Residents have also held demonstrations at the proposed site off Route 41. Home Depot wants to locate on land zoned C-4, which allows hardware stores, but not lumber and building materials stores. Collier county categorizes permitted uses in business zones according to "standard industrial classification (SIC) codes, a system used by the Census Bureau and other government agencies to classify businesses. Lumberyards are a permitted use in the C5 zone, but not in C-4. Residents say the Home Depot project is too intense a business use for the C-4 zone. In other applications, Home Depot has described itself as a warehouse in order to fit into industrial zoning classifications . County Planning officials disagreed, saying a Home Depot would fit into the C-4 zone. Home Depot is expected to file very soon for the permits to build on the site. "Our plans have not changed whatsever in terms of our desire to build a store there," a company spokesman told the Naples Daily News. "What's even more outrageous," writes Rober Caron, of the Concerned Citizens of Collier County, "is that unelected bureaucrats are apparently empowered to fuzz the lines so that hardware store definitions can be expanded to encompass full-service contractor supply houses." Caron also questioned the location of a stockpiler of hazardous materials in a floodplain zone susceptible to hurricane storms. The Concerned Citizens have vowed to stir up a hurricane of opposition if Home Depot continues to track its way into Naples.

What you can do: This project is being pushed on Naples by Benderson Developmente, a company that has become mired in controversial projects in its home state of New York, and elsewhere. Benderson sunk deep into a quagmire when it attempted to build a shopping center in Utica, New York that required the displacement of a major wetland and stream ecosystem. The controversy ended up involving Congressmen and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has been said that the Benderson company has a "Midas Touch". But in Naples, all that glitters is not gold. For local contacts in Collier County, email info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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