After special visitor and former District One Commissioner, Donna Fiala, helped start the meeting by citing the Pledge of Allegiance, the Commissioners got down to business. Here are some of the highlights.
Near and dear to our community is the recommendation to award an agreement to Thomas Marine Construction for the Goodland Drive Rehabilitation Project. After hearing from a representative from the Goodland Civic Assocation, and Commissioner LoCastro tasking Staff to make sure the project stays on it’s timeline with no negligence, the Commissioners jumped to approved the contract unanimously with all agreeing this has been a LONG time in the making.
Marco Island made another appearance when District 1 Commissioner LoCastro talked about his first meeting with Marco Island City Council. Tigertail was the main topic of discussion during that meeting and the Commissioner wants an aggressive action plan moving forward. The main stakeholders that will be invited include Friends of Marco, Army Corps of Engineers, and several environmental agencies. The goal is to review everyone’s ideas on what is possible or not. Other issues discussed were Caxambas and Red Tide. Specifically relating to Red Tide, LoCastro thanked the county Parks and Recreation Department for cleaning up Caxambas and Tigertail. He indicated that Marco City Council admits to being behind the ball in cleaning up the canals and other areas, promising that will not happen again. Commissioner LoCastro plans on having regular meetings with Marco City Council so that he can highlight the needs of the city to the Board.
The monthly presentation on COVID-19 status from the Health Department shows that there is a decline in COVID positivity rates since mid-January and a steady decline in COVID cases in Collier County Hospitals over the last five weeks.
There have been 99,229 total people vaccinated as of February 22 with 50 percent being 65 and older (first shot). Variances, aka COVID mutations, are being closely monitored by the State and CDC to see how it affects vaccine efficacy, how it impacts the spread of the disease, if it is transmitted more easily or if it is harder to transmit, how it impacts testing treatment therapies as well as immune response. Testing is still going on with over 10,000 reported per week. For additional vaccination sites, and more COVID information, go to Floridahealthcovid19.gov.
The proposal to amend the Collier County Land Development Code to create the Golden Gate Parkway Overlay District held its first hearing. The Golden Gate Parkway Overlay District would implement the Golden Gate Area Master Plan. The amendment would continue to allow the uses that are currently occuring, expand the list of allowable uses, set new development standards that would be consistent throughout the Overlay District, control auto-oriented uses (gas stations, car washes), encourage pedestrian-friendly designs and incentivize redevelopment. Approved unanimously.
Next up, recommendation for the board to select a site to locate the Collier County Mental Health Receiving Facility. It has been a top priority of the county to build a Central Receiving Facility to serve persons experiencing acute mental health or substance abuse crises. Sean Callahan, Executive Director of Corporate Business Operations, states that they have gone through several years of workshops to get to this point. Scott Burgess, President and CEO of the David Lawrence Center, explains why they are the best location choice; it’s more central to the community and the clients they will be serving; evidence from a clinical standpoint shows an outpatient and inpatient facility near each other is a benefit; and clients utilizing the facility prefer a community setting, rather than one next to a jail or at a governmental facility, as it eliminates stigmatization. Commissioner Solis emphasizes the need to be clear that this facility is going to be county constructed and owned since it is being built with tax revenue on county owned land (David Lawrence Center will deed the property to the county) with the David Lawrence Center selected as the operator of the facility. Commissioner LoCastro agrees that building next to the David Lawrence Center makes sense and believes there is strength to the community to have the Receiving Facility at that site. A motion to select the 5-acre site next to David Lawrence Center while working out the details and bring them back to the Commissioners is approved unanimously.
The Big Cypress Basin discussion was tabled until after lunch so that Staff could rework the language being sent to our state representatives. The letter would detail the county’s concerns with the House Bill 209 and Senate Bill 406 now being considered. Staff worked through lunch and presented additional language that states the county “opposes passage and enactment unless these points are addressed” with the expectation there would be amendments during the process. Commissioner Taylor wanted to delay everything to get more public input, among other things. The resolution was adopted with changes 4-1 with Commissioner Taylor opposing.