Saturday, January 29, 2022

County’s Growth Management Division Working to Make Development Easy

With Collier County poised to potentially grow to about 1 million people by 2080, the county’s Growth Management Division needs to keep up with demand and make it easier and faster for businesses to get their work done while at the same time making sure our quality of life is preserved.

That was the message Growth Management Division Administrator Nick Casalanguida and Deputy Administrator Jamie French told the audience at the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce’s Wake Up Naples event Wednesday morning at the Naples Hilton.

The county has made improvements by taking a private sector approach to development, organized around client and community needs, according to French.

Some of the ways the county has improved its processes in the last few years:

  • Plans are reviewed within five days or the county gives your money back.
  • The county instituted a “next-day inspection” process that guarantees a customer an inspection the next day if they call before 3 p.m.
  • Fire code inspectors and staff from the Collier County Clerk of Courts office have moved into the Growth Management offices, which allows for timely inspections of plans and the recording of Notices of Commencement, rather than requiring customers to go to several different places.
  • Growth Management will open a permitting center in Immokalee. Open three days each week, it will allow people with property in Immokalee to get their permits in town, rather than coming to Naples.
  • The county has gone to online permitting for services like HVAC replacement, fences and residential demolitions, which give customers the convenience of submitting their permitting plans from their computers.

Growth Management started working on the initiatives in 2009 at the direction of County Manager Leo Ochs.

“Collier County was not immune to the economic downturn and we needed to find solutions that would make us attractive to businesses and developers,” said Ochs. “The strong push by the Board of County Commissioners to make Collier County a leader in economic development, as well as the changes implemented by our Growth Management Division, has made it easier and faster to do business in Collier County.  That’s great news for our businesses and their customers.

But the county is not done, Casalanguida said. As demand continues to grow, Growth Management is hiring new employees to ensure that service levels remain for customers.

“We’ve managed the downturn and we have to own the upturn,” he said.

For more information, contact Nick Casalanguida or Jamie French at (239) 252-8192.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.


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