Friday, January 21, 2022

Reconsideration of ALF Vote Fails

In what many in the audience saw as a backdoor attempt to reverse the decision of council at its last meeting, Councilor Jared Grifoni proposed a reconsideration of a vote rejecting a petitioner’s application for approval of a PUD on a portion of the property owned by Naples Community Hospital.

That vote would have allowed the petitioner, Walt Chancey, the Managing Partner of Chancey Design Partnership from Tampa, along with CW Development Partners and Watermark Communities to resuscitate their failed attempt at creating a modified CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) on that property.

Chancey’s group, in coordination with the Naples Community Hospital would create a Planned Unit Development (PUD) on land presently owned by NCH. That land was donated by the Mackle Brothers who developed the island for a hospital/and or health care facilities the intersection of Bald Eagle Drive and San Marco Road.

The present-day Urgent Care Center is located on a portion of the 11.4 acres owned by NCH. As part of the proposal, NCH would sell five of those acres to the Chancey Group for their modified CCRF project, while NCH would retain the remaining 6.4 acres. 

It had been proposed by the petitioner that NCH would utilize the funds from the sale of that property to build a new Urgent Care Facility to take the place of the existing one. That facility was built and equipped by donations from residents and businesses in the mid-80s.

Abutting neighbors and residents on the island questioned the proposed location due to safety, traffic, noise and density/intensity issues. City staff would recommend rejection of the project due to its non-conformity to the city’s Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan.

At the January 22 meeting of council, it became evident that the votes to pass the ordinance at that meeting could not to be found. Councilor Larry Honig would ask Chairman Erik Brechnitz if a motion would be in order to either reapply or come back with changes. He would bring a motion forward to continue the matter until March 4 and it was supported by a second to the motion by Councilor Jared Grifoni.

That motion would fail by a vote of 4-3, with only Honig, Grifoni and Brechnitz voting for the continuance and Vice Chair Victor Rios and Councilors Howard Reed, Charlette Roman and Sam Young objecting. A second motion by Councilor Honig to approve the project, which was already doomed to defeat, would fail by a 1-6 vote, with only Honig in favor. 

That would set up the ability for one of those on the prevailing side of that vote to bring up the matter for reconsideration at the next meeting, a legal parliamentary maneuver.

On February 4 that motion to reconsider was made at the end of the evening during council communications by Councilor Grifoni and a second to that motion was made by Councilor Honig.

Councilor Honig commented that, “My interest is in fairness to the applicant,” which drew a negative response from those in attendance. That would cause both Honig and the Chairman to request the audience show respect to the dais. 

Honig would go on to comment, “I don’t believe the applicant would say this, but I will. I don’t think he feels he was treated appropriately by the staff,” said Honig.

City staff, however, had never spoken to the concept of an ALF or its viability on the island but would speak to non-compliance with both the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code, which they are responsible for compliance to.

Chairman Brechnitz would attempt to have the petitioner’s attorney, Craig Woodward address council, which would be met with resistance from several councilors, with Councilor Howard Reed questioning Woodward’s standing to address the motion. The city attorney would rule that if the Chair allowed Woodward to address the board, he would also have to allow all members of the public to do the same. 

A written communication from Woodward’s office would be attached to the record and Brechnitz would call the roll. The motion for reconsideration would fail 5-2 with only Honig and Grifoni voting in favor. 

The petitioner would have to wait a year from the January 22, 2019 defeat of the ordinance to resubmit it and begin the process again.

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