Friday, April 07, 2006

Vanderbilt Beach Road extension proposal would take 19 homes

A proposed route laid out Thursday night for an eastward extension of Vanderbilt Beach Road calls for avoiding major golf courses.

Collier County staff said the move saves potentially millions of dollars.

But the downside is some homes would have to be bought out that wouldn’t otherwise if a route slicing through The Golf Club of the Everglades and Olde Florida Golf Course were part of the extension.

The staff proposal, which was a hybrid of three finalist routes, would slice between 10th and 12th avenues northwest. It is slated to cost an estimated $150 million and involve the taking of 19 homes.

The other routes being considered would have cost in the $200 million range, according to county Transportation Planner Joe Quinty. One finalist route not chosen would have involved the taking of 49 homes. County staff weighed a variety of factors, including social, economic and environmental issues.

“This is just a planning tool,’’ Quinty told an estimated 100 Golden Gate Estates residents who turned out for the unveiling at the Golden Gate Community Center.

Another meeting is scheduled for April 10 before the Golden Gate Estates Area Civic Association.

Choosing a route has been an agonizing process, Quinty told the crowd.

“There are definitely emotional and human factors in this that are very hard to quantify,’’ he said.

The county plans to extend Vanderbilt Beach Road 10 miles eastward from Olde Florida Golf Course to DeSoto Boulevard.

Here was the route laid out Thursday night:

After Massey Street, Vanderbilt Beach Road would extend on the north side of Cypress Canal. It would then dip south of the canal after it passes the golf courses. It would then turn north and slice between 10th and 12th avenues northwest.

The county opted not to take the extension down either the north or south side of the Cypress Canal after Ninth Street Northwest.

That was a relief to Rick and Michelle Henderson, who own a home on the south side of the canal. The couple’s main concern was that the road would be extended on the north side of the canal, a stone’s throw away from their back yard.

“Either take my house, so I don’t have to look at it (the road), or go the backyard route between 10th and 12th Avenue,’’ Rick Henderson said.

Quinty noted that the route unveiled Thursday is only a recommendation and that the final decision will be up to the Collier County Commission on April 17.

“They could go with the no-build option,’’ he said referring to county commissioners.

But, he added, that would cause problems with the transportation network.

(Source: Naples Daily News 04/07/2006)

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Bonita zoning board approves homes east of I-75

The Bonita Springs Zoning Board today approved of a 500-acre rezoning request that will allow for 1,601 homes to be built east of Interstate 75.

The request to rezone came from the Ronto Group, which is seeking to develop the third portion of its 1,299-acre project. The two other segments were rezoned in June, and this final rezoning could bring the total number of new houses up to 3,600.

The few concerns raised to the presenters mainly addressed the issue of increased traffic, as the third phase is projected to bring more than 10,000 additional cars to Bonita Beach Road. The development agreement between the city and the Ronto Group requires the developer to expand Bonita Beach Road to four lanes from Bonita Grande to its phase three site, where the road will end. The cost of the road expansion and extension is estimated to cost $28.5 million.

The case will have its first reading in the Bonita Springs City Council on May 3.

(Source: Naples Daily News 04/07/2006)

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Interest rates up

Rates on 30-year mortgages rose this week to 6.43 percent, the highest level in two and a half years, as financial markets began to worry more about inflation, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac's weekly nationwide survey.

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Vacation- and investment-home sales both set records in 2005, NAR says, with the combined total of second home sales accounting for four out of 10 residential transactions. The market share of second homes rose from 36 percent of transactions in 2004 to 39.9 percent in 2005. More...

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Florida still holds the title as the hottest market in the Southeast for home prices, soaring nearly 27 percent last year, according to an analysis report issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The median price for a home in Florida rose by a record rate of $56,000 in 2005. Leading the pack was Naples at $113,000 in appreciation last year. The overall report also shows healthy job creation across the region. Florida is generating jobs at the fifth-fastest rate in the nation and tops in the Southeast. Construction, retail and temporary jobs are multiplying the most, creating pockets of worker shortages in southwestern parts of the state. As a result, the state has the third-best unemployment rate in the United States.

Source: The Florida Times-Union, (04/06/2006)

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Homeowner's Insurance

Atlantic Preferred Insurance Co. plans to begin canceling coverage for 140,000 Florida homeowners starting July 13 as the policies come up for renewal. ''With the ongoing loss activity and the uncertainty of future losses, this is action that we have to take,'' Senior Vice President David Gough said Wednesday. More..

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