JOSEPH S CRANNEY
NAPLES DAILY NEWS
The Naples City Council unanimously agreed Wednesday to table its consideration of a parking plan for a downtown redevelopment after the project’s developer said the plans could become part of an injunction sought in a lawsuit against the city.
The request from Angele and Hadley Warwick to continue the council’s hearing on their project at 505 Fifth Ave. S. came after a plaintiff filed a motion last week asking a Collier County judge to halt the issuance of city building permits on Fifth Avenue.
“We have accordingly concluded that it would be imprudent for us to move forward with the public hearing tomorrow with this cloud hanging over our head and indeed hanging over the possibility of redevelopment anywhere and everywhere on Fifth Avenue,” said Doug Weltner, the Warwicks’ agent from Colliers International, in a letter sent to the council late Tuesday.
Joan Fiore in her March lawsuit argued the city violated state law by not properly alerting the public before the council voted last year to amend its building density limits to allow more condo units on the upper floors of Fifth Avenue mixed-use projects.
The city should stick to the limits that cap residential properties to eight units per acre, Fiore argued.
The Warwicks’ building calls for eight units on a roughly third-acre site.
In a motion for preliminary injunction filed Nov. 29, Fiore argues the city should be prevented from issuing “any building permits, site plan or development orders” for condo projects that include the increaseddensity. “We therefore respectfully request that our application be continued and urge that every effort be made to bring the lawsuit to a timely and appropriate conclusion so this travesty is brought to an end before irreparable damage is done to other innocent third parties,” Weltner said.
Weltner didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Through their lawyer, John Passidomo, the Warwicks declined to comment.
Fiore, who lives on Third Street South, called the council’s decision Wednesday a victory.
“I think it’s an appropriate decision based upon our current ordinances as far as density goes,” she said. “They’re approving things above the density limits.”
City Attorney Bob Pritt said Fiore’s lawsuit, while pending, doesn’t prevent the city from issuing permits.
“There is nothing to stop the city from doing that,” he said.
Pritt said the city will request a hearing on Fiore’s motion.
The council in September approved the design of the Warwicks’ building.
A separate hearing on the Warwicks’ request to buy parking credits to satisfy site requirements was scheduled for council review Wednesday after a city redevelopment panel approved the parking plan in October. The council tentatively rescheduled the hearing for next June.
Some council members said they were concerned with the Warwicks’ request to pay $20,000 for each of the 25 parking credits rather than build parking spaces on site.
The council in 2008 adopted a recommendation to set the price of the credits at $28,900. Adjusted for inflation, that price is now more than $32,000 per space.
The Warwicks said they asked for $20,000 per credit because the council approved the lower price for another downtown redevelopment last year.