From the Desk of County Commissioner Rick LoCastro


The Governor’s Executive Order to expand on the population eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will go into effect on March 15th. The Executive Order 21-46 and 21-47 expansion includes:
Long term care facility residents and staff
Persons aged 60+
Healthcare personnel with direct patient contact
K-12 school employees aged 50+
Sworn law enforcement officers aged 50+
Firefighters aged 50+
Those deemed extremely vulnerable will need to present a signed form that can be found at this link: ( It may then be taken to a pharmacy, physician, APRN, or to one of the 4 FEDERAL vaccine sites in the state (Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville) to receive a vaccine. Please note…the Department of Health-Collier County cannot provide the vaccine.

ONE NAPLES: At our March 1st meeting, Commissioners voted 4-1 to change zoning from Commercial to Residential. Some have expressed disappointment with the vote… but that’s the great thing about democracy… multiple viewpoints. However, I would hope informed citizens would look at the ENTIRE body of work of any elected official, their qualifications, and experience.

I went into the One Naples Commissioner meeting totally NEUTRAL. I was fully accessible and met with BOTH sides for months, went to the site MANY times as a Commissioner doing the homework required for this vote…and well before as a resident.. and did my homework from all angles to ensure I walked into the Commissioner meeting prepared… but also NEUTRAL and ready to hear closing arguments by all interested parties. It’s unfortunate some of the press and social media mischaracterized what actually happened at the vote. The “last-minute changes” by Stock Development were NOT some big shocker that threw everything into a tailspin and needed the vote to be delayed. In fact, the changes were ALL improvements the County and the opponents of the project were asking for.


Reduced the number of total residences from 172 to 140
Cut the size of its towers AGAIN… this time from 14 stories to 12 (had been 16 previously to that)
With the further decrease in stories–the actual height of the towers now dropped from 186 ft to 165 (Ritz Carlton is 215)
Decreased the zoned height of its mid-rise residential buildings from 65 ft to 55
Increased the setback distance of the parking structure supporting the towers from 15 ft to 25
Limited the number of boat slips from 99 to 75 (and those still need approval)
Pledged almost $3 Million for improvements in safety features to upgrade County parking garage, add traffic lights, crosswalks, bike & walking paths, and turn lanes
I also gave Anita Jenkins (County Director of Planning & Zoning) a chance to reply at the podium for the last word (at the end of the meeting and before any vote) asking her if she and her staff needed more time, more details, or even another day to digest everything. She said NO… they commonly get changes and additions all the time–and they are dynamic & agile enough to adjust and respond… and had everything they needed… especially when the changes were ALL items the County was looking for. District 2 Commissioner Andy Solis (who has the One Naples property in his District) was also a leading supporter of the vote. Changing the zoning from commercial to residential was the right decision for multiple reasons. We have plenty of commercial areas in our County that create exponential increased traffic issues and also have many out of business stores that clearly were excessive and built in the wrong areas and create more problems than solutions. We don’t need more of that.

I respect opposing views but certainly it’s not shared by everyone. Some citizen characterizations of greed & money controlling all, certainly doesn’t describe my integrity or anything I use to guide my decisions or votes when it comes to serving in this position. As a retired Air Force Colonel, Air Force Academy graduate, and having served my country for 24 years… the intellect & integrity I use to make informed decisions, is well intact. Quite a bit of what residents enjoy in this community (maybe even where you live) were protested by plenty of people over the years. Then in the end after it was built–citizens enjoyed their beautiful piece of paradise even more.

There is a BIG difference between “development” and IMPROVEMENT… and I know the difference. If you’ve been to the One Naples parcel, you will find that the beach is beautiful, but the surrounding area has been neglected for quite a while in many areas. Not sure another series of strip-malls would be a major improvement… and that IS what was coming. Many argued they would love another “Mercato” there… but if you have visited Mercato lately–you’ll see almost half the stores are out of business… most before Covid even hit. Not sure that’s improvement.

I encourage you to drive down US 41 in my District 1 (East Naples) and see the multitude of storage units, overabundance of gas stations, and other structures that are either falling down or never should have been built. That’s the District I am now working so hard to reverse & improve that I inherited three months ago when I was elected.

One Naples construction does NOT start tomorrow the way many think. There are more plans and details Stock Development must meet and we must approve. We will ensure tight oversight of the project and ensure the next steps are met or exceeded… or denied. We are quite far from having Stock Development put a shovel in the ground. We voted to convert zoning from commercial to residential… if One Naples continues to move forward with more detailed designs–we must approve or deny, ensure it’s built correctly, adds to the area, and is a success.

Thank you to those who reached out to me… both for and against One Naples. I’m glad you all are following my efforts and are engaged and concerned citizens. I welcome all to continue to follow my service as a full-time County Commissioner, the progress we are making addressing long-overdue neglected areas in District 1, and the thousands of other responsibilities on a Commissioner’s plate. I would hope citizens would continue to watch my voting record, integrity, qualifications, experience, and leadership. Remember… I’m ALWAYS available for constructive, healthy, professional, and mature conversation. We may disagree on One Naples, but I encourage citizens to continue to track my actions, record, & results. We have many years of neglect in District 1 and our County in quite a few areas… I look to make progress with continued citizen feedback & support… even if we don’t agree on everything.

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