There is a constant chatter on Collier County and its demise as a great place to live. A few thoughts to set the record straight. Collier County is the largest county in Florida in terms of land area in square miles. It is a paradise to all of us that live here and enjoy its diversity.
In Collier County 78.2% of land can never be built on. Land that is set aside, The Everglades, land trusts, some undevelopable, protected. Of the 21.8% that can be developed only 13.8% has been developed.
To put that in perspective we have a population of 415,000 as of July 2023. Experts who are paid to know state that by 2030 Collier County will have a population of 500-525,000. By 2050 a long time in human years but a very short time in planning years Collier County will be at 950,000-1.2 million in population. Currently we have 415,000 on 13.8% of the buildable land. In 2050 we will have a projected increase in population of between 535,000-785,000 more than today. That increase will be on the 86.2% of the buildable land in Collier County… Go back and look at what you just read. You cannot look at those numbers and say people will be living on top of each other.
What will come about with proper collaboration between landowners, government and developers is an area where we have clusters of homes with needed amenities and jobs (think small towns, villages) surrounded by very large areas of green space. What do I base all this on? Listening to wise planners, looking at the future, my years on the Collier County Metropolitan Planning Organization, plus my years on the Florida State MPO Board of Governors.
Could I be wrong? Of course that could happen. We might have people who don’t care about planning and working collaboratively with the wish to stop everything or not work to build the future. Either one of these options would prove devastating for our county and our future.