NAPLES, Fla -- A controversial beach project in North Naples is being put on hold yet again. The state is giving an opposition group more time to file a legal challenge to the $1.2 million project.
The proposed project would put a 3,800 square foot restroom at the corner of Vanderbilt Road and Gulf Shore Drive. The group opposed to the project agrees the beach needs new bathrooms, but doesn't want the concession stand and they're doing all they can to make sure this project doesn't move forward.
Vanderbilt Beach in North naples is a hot spot for tourists, a place to relax and watch the sunset, but as of late it's been at the center of a bitter bathroom brawl.
"On a busy day here at the beach, people are 20-30 deep waiting to go to the bathroom," says Jeffrey Thompson, a longtime Naples resident in favor of the new facility.
Both sides agree, a bathroom fix is needed, but the disagreement comes over whether or not a full two story concession stand should be built along with it.
Commissioner Donna Fiala is all for it and is frustrated by what she calls constant delay tactics.
Fiala says, "It's a few people who want to prevent a lot of people from enjoying the beach."
The Department of Environmental Protection granted a variance for the project at the end of October. Opponents had 21 days to question it, but waited too long.
Kathy Robbins represents the North Naples Community Alliance, the group opposed to the concession stand and the group that filed the request for a 60 day extension.
Robbins says, "it's an important point. It gives us time that we didn't have. It gives us time to have our attorneys and coastal consultants look at the permit application and make sure everything is as represented. If not, we file an appeal."
"It's already been voted on, there are so many people that are so glad that we're going to go ahead and do this. It's just a delay tactic and my guess is they're going to do it again and again and again," says Commissioner Fiala.
Opponents now have until January 20th to decide what their next move will be. Meanwhile, Commissioner Fiala encourages those in favor of the project to write letters to the county showing their support.