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Collier Commissioners side with builder on workforce housing plan amid protests

Posted at 6:03 PM, Feb 27, 2024

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — Collier County Commissioners voted Tuesday to allow a Miami-based developer to proceed with plans for a workforce housing project, despite concerns voiced by residents.

Neighbors from around Henderson Creek Drive off Collier Boulevard had gathered for a second time to protest the new development.

In January, Collier County granted unanimous preliminary approval to the developer to receive county funding for a large-scale housing complex that aims to provide more affordable housing for essential workers.

A hearing on Tuesday could have paused the project, but commissioners ended up allowing it to move forward.

Chris Shear, COO of McDowell Housing Partners, the developer behind the project, was optimistic commissioners would vote in his favor.

Many residents have raised concerns about the project's potential impact, telling Fox 4 they have witnessed a negative impact on traffic and the environment nearby.

"It's all about the environment for our area," said Bobby Williams, a local resident. "They're planning to build a 7-story, 180-unit workforce housing complex on the creek, where all the runoff will go into the creek... I've already seen it. I was born here," Williams complained.

Responding to environmental concerns, Shear stated his team is complying with regulations. He highlighted the project's design and told Fox 4 it is more environmentally friendly than existing homes in the area.

Regarding traffic, Shear explained that outgoing traffic would be directed onto Collier Boulevard.

"The only traffic that would be going onto Henderson Creek would be residents who are turning onto Henderson Creek going toward Marco Island to enter the property," Shear explained.

The developer still needs additional approval for its construction to be state-compliant. Shear expects ground to break within the next year.