CPN (Citizens for Preserving Naples) has previously told you about some of the serious problems that will be created by constructing a massive parking garage in a quiet residential neighborhood in Old Naples — problems that will adversely affect the entire Naples community. (See citizensforpreservingnaples.org and the Naples Garage Coalition website at www.44garage.com)
Now we see a “petition” effort pushed by promoters of the massive garage — mainly some Fifth Avenue businesses and developers that have been subsidized for years with large amounts of taxpayer dollars — extolling the garage in glowing generalities. But these promoters fail to ask or answer several hard questions about whether — even apart from the massive garage’s adverse impact on the neighborhood and the Naples community — the City is getting a good financial deal in buying the parking lot.
“Buying a pig in a poke” – “An offer or deal that is foolishly accepted without being examined first.” http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/a-pig-in-a-poke.html
The proposal for the City to purchase the parking lot at 4th and 4th is just that — a “pig in a poke” proposal being pushed by City staff and the project’s Fifth Avenue developer promoters who are asking the City Council and the City’s taxpayers to blindly accept the financial terms of the deal without asking hard questions. Want just a few examples?
The parking lot’s real cost is not the $6 million listed in the sales contract – the City also agrees to give up (for the seller’s benefit) 113 parking spaces worth $32,000 apiece — resulting in a real purchase cost to the City of at least $9.6 million dollars.
The City agrees to take the property “AS IS” absolving the Seller from any liability for any existing contamination, subsurface conditions, or foundation problems.
The City agrees in the sales contract to rezone the property to allow a parking garage. Such a contractual promise to rezone violates the prohibition in Florida law against “contract zoning”.
The so-called “independent” appraisals used to justify the $6 million cash portion of the contract are based on assumed PD (Planned Development) zoning that does not and cannot exist at this location — resulting in padding the cost to the City by up to several million dollars.
“The $600,000 Haircut” – If the City fails to rezone the property and build the parking garage the Seller can repurchase the property at the original sale price – less a $600,000 penalty to the City.
Want more info on what’s wrong with the deal? Go to the Naples Garage Coalition website (www.44garage.com).
WHAT WE AS CITIZENS CAN DO TO STOP THIS FIASCO?
TOP PRIORITY!!! – Signup on the Naples Garage Coalition citizen petition at www.ipetitions.com/petition/reject-public-garage-in-residential-neighborhood asking the City Council to reject the proposed contract for the 4th & 4th parking lot.
“The 5 X 5” campaign” – Get 5 of your neighbors – and each of them get 5 of their neighbors — and 5 of their neighbors, etc., etc., — to send emails to each of the City Council stating: “As residents of Naples we request that the CRA and/or Council vote "NO" on purchasing the parcels on 4th and 4th and vote to not construct a parking garage on this property” (Council members’ addresses are on the CPN website: http://citizensforpreservingnaples.org/). Make sure the author of each email copies us (CPN) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Get Naples Taxpayers and Voters to the key Council and CRA meetings on August 15 and 16, 2017.” The City staff’s strategy is to ask the Council and the CRA to vote to approve this massive garage project in late August – when many of our residents and voters are away. They want to “fast track” the decision to make it a “done deal” by the time many Naples residents and voters return in the Fall.
If you are here in Naples in August go to the August 15 CRA and August 16 Council hearings and urge the Council to vote NO on this garage project. Your physical presence at the hearings sends a strong message. (Send an email to us at CPN if you can and will attend either or both of the hearings.)
Even if you are away, contact any of your neighbors who are in Naples in August and urge them to attend the hearings and voice their objection.
Let CPN know if you or your neighbors plan on coming to the hearings.