Isles of Capri community members upset by plans for high-rise condo development

Published: April 1, 2022 4:49 PM EDT
Updated: April 1, 2022 7:30 PM EDT

Plans for a high-rise condo development are shocking to some community members. Isles of Capri’s community leaders are fighting a rezoning.

So far, this is just a plan, but people living in the Isles of Capri won’t be the ones making the final decision. Because, well, it’s not up to them, ultimately.

The community has an area known as “the business island,” and it mainly contains small businesses and some homes. The issue is that the landowner wants to build three high rises in that area.

As you enter Isles of Capri, signs line the streets saying “Keep the business island business,” “Save Capri,” and “No to rezoning.” These messages represent a movement within the community to stop a rezoning proposal in the heart of the island.

Matt Crowder is the secretary of Capri Community INC. “We believe it’s going to completely change our small island lifestyle here,” Crowder said.

History is repeating itself for James Donato and he doesn’t like it. “Five years ago, they started the same thing they are doing here and it’s just horrible…traffic,” Donato said.

Donato told WINK News reporter Jennifer Morejon that he used to live in Bethany Beach in Delaware until land near his some there was rezoned residential. His life changed so he sold and moved to Isles of Capri. “It was horrible and im afraid that’s going to happen as a result of this,” said Capri.

The land is owned by FCC Beach and Yacht. It’s a C-3 zone for commercial use only. But Crowder said the owner shave applied to have Collier County rezone as a PUD, which will allow for residential development.

“We feel like it’s sort of a shock to our system. This is not what people expected when they purchased their houses here. And it’s certainly not what the gentleman who developed this property expected,” said Crowder.

Crowder told WINK News that the owners want to build three high rises with 108 units. Neighbors told him they are okay with the owner building whatever they please…as long as it’s for commercial purposes.

Edward Huot lives in Isles of Capri. “Most of these people we got people in their 80s…three people over 90. It’s going to be a lot of stress for these people. Especially the noise, especially the traffic, emergency vehicles,” Huot said.

Some of the 800 people who live here believe it could also cause environmental issues or emergency hazards.

“Please don’t destroy our way of living here, please don’t destroy our lifestyle here. This is a small island community, we want it to stay that way. We do not want it to be consumed by massive development here,” Crowder said.

Nothing surrounding the possible project has made it to Collier County Commissioners just yet. WINK News reached out to the attorney for the landowner and the developer but we have not yet heard back.

And Collier County Commissioner Rick LoCastro did say that anything a developer may want to do on that parcel of land is “a far cry from being automatically approved.”