Frequently Asked Questions
What is Naples Property Rights Coalition?
Naples Property Rights Coalition is a nonprofit 501(c)4 organization dedicated to protecting private property rights, preserving property values and ensuring economic prosperity in the City of Naples. The coalition does this by identifying issues that could adversely impact property values, advocating at Naples City Hall and opposing policies that limit private property owners’ rights.
Why was Naples Property Rights Coalition formed?
Naples City Council continues to take steps to advance priorities that could negatively impact properties, such as changing rules related to residential lot coverage and setbacks, prohibiting lot combinations, and more restrictive land use regulations. These changes could lead to a considerable reduction in property values, which would ultimately devastate the City of Naples’ tax base.
Who are the supporters?
Naples Property Rights Coalition is comprised of City of Naples property owners, residents, business and community leaders unified behind the mission of protecting property owners’ rights and preserving property values.
Why are supporters’ names not public?
This group of private citizens and business leaders prefer to remain private so that the issues are truly about protecting property rights and property values and do not become politicized based on any individual member of the group.
Will supporters’ names be made public?
Yes. Naples Property Rights Coalition will make supporters names public at the appropriate time.
Why are land use and zoning rules being discussed?
In 2019, the City of Naples began the process of updating and assessing its visioning documents. As part of that process, the city held public workshops and conducted an online survey. Based on the results of this process and how they are specifically interpreting, Naples City Council identified several initiatives and priorities, such as amending land use rules to ensure the “small-town feel and charm,” of Naples, and to serve as guidance to elected officials, appointed boards and committees, and City of Naples staff when making decisions relative to capital projects, the annual budget and review of private development.
Why does this matter to me?
In the years since the visioning process was completed, Naples City Council has taken significant steps to limit what private property owners can do on their own land, all while granting City Council more power. These proposed changes not only have an immediate impact on private property owners’ rights, but also negatively impact property values.
Naples City Council has proposed changes under the guise of preserving the character of Naples, however it has given little thought to the long-term negative impact of these actions.
This continued attack on private property rights threatens to make the City of Naples a less desirable place for people who want to invest in the community and make it their home. It creates a level of uncertainty, which could lead interested property owners to look elsewhere where land use and zoning rules are more favorable to property owners.
Additionally, the City Council is proposing changes that diminish the authority of City staff to review and approve routine site plans and other routine requests and transfer that authority to City Council. The proposed changes will result in significantly more oversight by City Council and will grant City Council authority to arbitrarily deny routine requests based on their political agenda.
We feel strongly that the City Council is moving in a direction that the majority of city residents would not agree with if the impacts are fully understood.
What did the visioning process entail?
The visioning process was completed almost 4 years ago, before the City Council started down their current path of limiting private property rights and seeking to micromanage all land use approvals, and has not been updated since. The original process consisted of four community workshops, which were meant to encourage dialogue among community members about the issues facing the City of Naples. The City also held several public meetings with elected officials, advisory board members, stakeholder groups and community members, as well as several homeowner and property owners’ associations.
An online survey was also created, which was meant to provide City of Naples residents and businesses the opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts on the City’s vision.
The City received 1,594 responses to the survey, less than 10% of the more than 19,000 residents of the City and is now relying on this survey from a very small group of constituents to advance their political agenda.
How did the City of Naples use the results of the survey?
The current Naples City Council chose their top priorities from the results of the survey. Among those were initiatives to “review and amend the planning and building codes which would ensure our small-town feel and charm.” Read the City of Naples Vision.
What they failed to address in the survey and in the visioning process is how they would advance this initiative. Recent actions of the City Council have made clear that they interpret this initiative as giving them discretion to limit private property rights and create arbitrary and ambiguous code provisions giving them power to decide whether a proposed building or residence meets the character of a neighborhood. It has also become clear that the City Council is relying on a very small group of constituents to drive their priorities, without listening to or seeking input from other residents and business leaders of the community.
What is zoning in progress and how does it affect me?
Simply put: A zoning in progress (ZIP) declaration puts a pause on any building permit applications that would be affected by changes to specific codes or ordinances that city leaders are working to change. This includes residential building permits. The city can accept applications while a ZIP is in place, however any requests that have been submitted during this time would be considered under the new rules. So, for example, a home that has been in design for the past 9 months, would now be put on hold until the new rules are implemented, and most likely would have to be redesigned based on the proposed changes to increase lot coverage requirements.
In October 2022, very shortly after Hurricane Ian, Naples City Council proposed a ZIP so that they could stop redevelopment of homes damaged by the hurricane while they considered changes to residential lot coverage and building envelopes. The proposed ZIP was placed on the agenda less than 24 hours prior to the meeting at which it was discussed, and when most people still did not have internet or power. The result would have been devastating for those impacted by the hurricane as it would have essentially stopped new building permits being issued while the code changes were considered and drastically reduced property values due to the uncertainty created by the proposed ZIP language. After huge public outcry at a standing room only City Council meeting, the City Council voted not to proceed with the ZIP, but they continue to discuss lot coverage changes that will have a negative impact on property values within the City.
Are changes to lot coverage, setbacks and impervious areas on the table?
In October 2022, Naples City Council attempted to push through a zoning in progress declaration so it could amend the rules related to residential lot coverage. The push to change the rules came just weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida and caused significant property damage throughout the City of Naples.
While City Council did not proceed with the ZIP at that time, based on the most recent Council comments, it is clear that City Council would like to see smaller homes and more green space on private property. Some of the previous workshops have discussed calculations that would very significantly reduce the size of a home that could be placed on any parcel and would include entryways, pools, and other unenclosed spaces in lot coverage calculations. If these changes are passed, property values will decline based on the smaller building footprint and building costs will significantly increase because homes will have to be 2 stories in order to achieve desired square footages, also changing the character of many neighborhoods that are now primarily comprised of single-story homes.
The City of Naples has hired an outside consultant to help Naples City Council and staff address potential amendments to rules related to lot coverage, setbacks and impervious area regulations. The city began the process during a Naples City Council workshop on Jan. 20, where they discussed their concerns and provided the consultant with direction.
Is the consultant looking at any other issues?
The City of Naples has also tapped the consultant to provide support on issues related to density and intensity as it pertains to mixed-use projects, the definition and method for measuring the maximum height in the commercial and mixed-use districts, and setback rules within the Fifth Avenue South Special Overlay District.
Naples City Council is expected to receive a report and discuss how to move forward on these topics, as well as proposed changes to lot coverage rules, during its Feb. 13 workshop, less than 30 days after they began the process and without meaningful input from community leaders, stakeholders, and professionals in the industry, despite the City Council’s own discussion at their Oct 31 meeting of engaging in community charettes and taking time to examine issues thoroughly.
How did Naples City Council change lot combination rules?
On Jan. 18, Naples City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that creates specific criteria for residential lot combinations throughout the City of Naples. These include requiring lot combination applications to include conceptual renderings, elevations and a site plan. The rules also call on proposed lot combinations to be “compatible with, and will not be out of scale with, other lots and existing character of the neighborhood and other lots on the street within the immediate vicinity and will not unreasonably interfere with air flow, sunlight and viewsheds provided by the current lot configuration and setbacks.”
The new rules will be finalized during a second and final hearing on Feb. 15.
The City Council has already denied several lot combination requests and is currently being sued by at least one property owner based on the denial.
Why aren’t some of these issues being handled at the administrative level?
In recent years, Naples City Council has shifted many decisions that were previously made administratively under their purview. One such example is a proposed ordinance that would require Naples City Council to review and approve all site plans and site plan amendments.
Under existing rules, Naples City Council is only required to review and approve site plans and site plan amendments for planned developments. All other reviews and approvals are handled at the staffing level.
The proposed change would change that, giving Naples City Council the authority to review and approve or deny all site plans and site plan amendments to future development. This will add several months to the permitting process, resulting in delays and increased costs for property owners looking to improve their property.
Additionally, requiring Naples City Council approval shifts the site plan review process from an administrative function performed by qualified planning experts to a highly politicized one.
How can I get involved?
It’s important for Naples City Council to hear from property owners, residents, and civic and community leaders throughout the City of Naples as they continue to consider changes that adversely affect property values and limit property rights.
Your participation is vital to our mission. We strongly encourage you to attend and speak at upcoming Naples City Council meetings and workshops to tell Naples City Council that you do not support these changes. View upcoming Naples City Council meetings.
If you are unable to attend a meeting in person, please email Naples City Council to voice your concerns. To find email addresses for Naples City Council members, you can visit our take action page.
You can stay engaged with Naples Property Rights Coalition by signing up for updates or by making a donation.