Community fighting against ‘One Naples’ condominium development planned for Vanderbilt Beach

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:
One Naples development illustration (Stock Development)

The fight is on in a battle over a new condo community.

Developers hope “One Naples” will go up on Vanderbilt Beach. But some who live nearby fear this 16-story building will block sunsets and bring more traffic.

Stephen Haggerty and his wife, Marianne, love spending winters at the Beachmoor Condominiums just feet from Vanderbilt Beach.

“Number one, it’s beautiful,” said Stephen, so he’s worried about a plan to build the 172-unit condominium, marina and coffee shop/deli called One Naples.

“Literally the size of this is overwhelming for the acreage that’s there,” he said.

He’s worried it will block views. “We do have an east-facing lanai that will look directly at the towers and so forth,” he explained.

Raymond Dearchs agrees. He’s one of over 30 community members who signed up to speak against the project Thursday at the Collier Planning Commission.

He says allowing this development means more could come.

“Is it going to start leap-frogging down the street,” Dearchs asked? “Kind of like a development version of coronavirus? Is it going to keep making the whole neighborhood worse? It’s got to stop somewhere.”

Betty Pircio lives at the Barefoot Pelican near Vanderbilt Beach. Her fear? “It’s going to lie in its shadows. It’s going to shadow us it’s going to create more traffic.”

She says One Naples just won’t fit in the area. “The project is too big! It’s just too big it’s too dense too tall it’s too everything.”

Stock Development says they’ve worked with the community in 50 meetings to bring down the height and number of units and they also have community support.

“Everybody has a voice and we want to listen and that’s why we did hold 50 community meetings, but we continue to provide the facts that we believe this is the best use for this project,” said Claudine Wetzel, Stock Development’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We continue to believe that our project is the best use of this space and I think what’ very interesting today is the opposition even believes that residential is the best use of the space.”

But Haggerty hopes the Planning Commission will listen and, ultimately, come down on their side.

“A development of this size just doesn’t seem to work for us,” he said.

The non-profit group Save Vanderbilt Beach presented their argument Thursday, attacking the development saying it’s not compatible or complementary to the neighborhood.

They say they want more compromise and some community members think Stock’s CEO hasn’t done enough.

“He’s simply been intransigent, and that’s where the anger comes is he keeps maintaining that he’s met with everybody and he’s been responsive to them and the reality is that he is not,” said Buzz Victor of Collier County.

He, Pircio and more than 30 others didn’t get the chance to voice their concerns at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, once again, but they hope county leaders eventually get their message and listen.

The arguments on both sides have taken so long, that Thursday’s meeting will continue for a second time.

“I’ve owned there for 14 years and I bought there because I love Naples and I love the beach and it’s going to be severely impacted by this development,” Pircio said.

The project will, once again, be discussed at the Nov. 5 meeting.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.