Commissioners in Collier County, Fla., have placed a year-long ban on self-storage and several other land uses along a 7-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 41, near the Naples, Fla., city limit. The development moratorium also includes car washes, gas stations and pawn shops, while the county works on a plan to lure hotels, restaurants and retail to the area, according to the source.
The ban includes land along U.S. 41 from Palm Street to Price Street, just west of Collier Boulevard. Much of the frontage along the highway has been acquired by self-storage companies and gas stations, according to commissioner Donna Fiala, who said the area “looks like a slum.”
“Nobody is going to travel to East Naples to eat or shop at a self-storage unit,” Fiala said during the meeting. “We desperately need a hotel because there’s no place for people to stay in that corridor. We would love to have some restaurants and some shopping areas. We just need more places we can go.”
Part of the problem is zoning along the corridor allows for more than 180 uses but has never addressed the growth of residences in the vicinity, according to the source. “There’s almost no limitations on what they can put up, so it’s becoming this whole canyon of self-storage places,” Fiala said. “It’s this useless corridor, and it doesn’t help to build a well-functioning community around it. People who live there should be able to stay there to buy clothes or shoes or something to eat. They have to travel for everything.”
Kathy Curatolo, executive officer of the Collier Building Industry Association, argued commissioners were sending the wrong message to developers and suggested the county consult with builders about possibilities for the area. "We certainly understand that there are concerns about gas stations and self-storage among our public," Curatolo said. "But the way to diversify is not by implementing a moratorium. It's by communication between the public and private sectors to create a balanced approach."
During the ban, the county will examine new restrictions on self-storage and other uses, which could include distance requirements between businesses of the same type. Proposed changes will be written during the next year before being presented to the commission for approval, the source reported.
- Naples Daily News: New Gas Stations, Storage Units, Pawnshops Banned Along U.S. 41 East