Commissioner's Comments Don't Satisfy Several Residents
Published on Friday, 03 October 2014 16:04
Many of the approximately 100 Ave Maria residents who came to a meeting with County Commissioner Tim Nance Wednesday arrived with the hope that he would champion their efforts to slow down plans by town developers to make changes to the town plan, particularly a proposal for a commercial/industrial park near the town's entrance.
Those hoping to find an ally left disappointed, however, when the commissioner declined to take up their cause.
Resident Michael Pakaluk, who leads a new organization called the Ave Maria Community Alliance and who introduced Commisioner Nance at the meeting, called Mr. Nance's tone patronizing and threatening, and said everyone he spoke to said they were "shocked, amazed, astonished by what he said and how he acted."
Commissioner Nance told the group that it was not possible for him to agree to one of the alliance's main proposals, that there be a postponement of a meeting of county commissioners Oct. 14 at which the proposals will be discussed. He does not have that authority, he said, and is prevented by state sunshine laws from talking to other commissioners about it.
He told the meeting, attended largely by residents of the Del Webb neighborhood that abuts the site of the proposed commercial development, that in his opinion developer Barron Collier was "first class" and that residents should be thankful to have them developing the community. He also said that he could not imagine a better company to be anchoring the commercial park than Arthrex a maker of medical devices, which has built a 190,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and is planning to begin construction later this year on another 60,000-square-foot facility.
Mr. Nance said that Collier County needs more commercial development, repeating comments he had made earlier to The Ave Herald that county revenues rely primarily on ad valorem taxes and there "needs to be a healthy balance between commercial and residential ratepayers."
The commissioner, who represents the district that includes Ave Maria, did seem to agree with residents who complained that Barron Collier did not do enough to discuss the proposed changes in advance with residents. He said said he would "reach out" to the Barron Collier company to suggest they engage more with the town residents.
Dr. Pakaluk, in a post to his organization's website, urged residents to get involved and turn out to make their views known at the Oct. 14 meeting of commissioners.
"We really must get more involved, we must do more, to make ourselves heard and to press our reasonable case before and at the October 14 meeting," he said. Click here to read the full post on the asssociation's website.
Click here for a previous Ave Herald story on the proposed changes to the town plan.