Commissioner’s Update -Neighborhood Information Meetings (NIMs)

NEIGHBORHOOD INFORMATION MEETINGS (NIMs):  Have you ever seen notices or articles in the local paper advertising a “Neighborhood Information Meeting”?
These meetings happen all over the County on a regular basis… but are NOT plans or approval… FAR FROM IT.  A developer interested in construction — most notably when a rezoning will possibly be requested or the project has aspects needing higher County approval — requires the developer to have Neighborhood Information Meetings (NIMs).  In those cases, the developer must host these meetings between themselves and citizens to discuss the project and gain feedback from those who live in that community.  These meetings NEVER mean the project is approved… they are prerequisites for application of a project.  Even “applying for permits” — doesn’t mean a project is coming.  NIMs are a way for citizens to gain knowledge of a project which will “possibly” be requested to the County.  Often the result of a professional NIM between the developer and citizens will net changes, improvements, down-sizing… or even at times a contractor deciding to not move forward.
However, mere disagreement by citizens doesn’t always stop or stall a developer’s application process to the County.  Any landowner is legally able to apply for and develop the property they own.  If their property is zoned either commercial or residential… and they aren’t looking to build anything different (anything outside of the parameters of permitting or zoning) often NIMs are not required… and the landowner can apply for permits and start building (if permits are approved). 
Every construction project you see in Collier County does NOT come to County Commissioners for approval… usually the fact is most don’t.  Why?  Because often the parcel of land is already zoned and permitted for exactly what the landowner wants to build.  Similar to a citizen who buys a residentially zoned lot and wants to build a house that would fit on the property… once permits are obtained… they can start building.  However, in the case of a landowner wanting to do something “out of the box”… these NIMs are a chance for citizens to hear from and speak directly with the developer… providing valuable feedback and often fruitful negotiation before the developer even requests anything of the County.
If you see a Neighborhood Information Meeting advertised in the newspaper… or talked about between your neighbors… you’ll want to do everything you can to attend these meetings and ensure a healthy exchange of ideas and information between your community and the developer.  NIMs are the very first step in a long process of “exploration” by a developer with citizens.
As you see in the newspaper ad above — by law — they must announce and have these meetings “In Compliance With The Collier County Land Development Code”… just as the paper above says in the first sentence.  Before citizens attend a NIM — they will want to get organized because this is your meeting with the developer… NOT with the County.  It’s your way to hear the developer out… express your agreement or displeasure (or realistic alternate ideas)… or hopefully a little bit of both.  These NIMs come well before any landowner even starts the process with the County.