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Conservation Collier Proposed Land Acquisitions

On November 3, 2020, the Collier County electors approved a ballot question supporting the re-enactment of the Conservation Collier land acquisition program with a dedicated ad valorem tax up to .25 mills. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the proceeds are earmarked for land acquisition, with the remaining 25% dedicated to the perpetual maintenance of acquired conservation lands.  

Pursuant to Section 11 of Conservation Collier Ordinance No. 2002-63, as amended the Conservation Collier Land Acquisition Advisory Committee (CCLAAC) recommends qualified acquisition proposals for the Active Acquisition List (AAL) to the Board for approval. On August 3, 2022, the CCLAAC selected qualified land acquisition proposals for inclusion on the AAL. 

The December 13, 2022 Board agenda included Category A recommended properties amounting to $14,028,808. In addition, there was a separate Executive Summary on the Consent Agenda recommending the purchase of a .39-acre Marco Island residential lot. (See below)

Proposed Marco Island lot, located at 507 Inlet Drive.

The proposed AAL has been separated into three (3) categories, A, B, and C as required by Conservation Collier Ordinance (No. 2002-63, as amended) Section 11 which states:

The Active Acquisition List shall separate proposals into three (3) categories, A (pursue acquisition), B (hold for re-ranking in the next acquisition cycle), and C (no interest in acquiring). The A-category parcels/projects shall be further categorized as 1 (high priority), 2 (medium priority), and 3 (low priority), in order to give County staff direction as to priority for acquisition tasks.

During the review of the targeted properties, there was extensive Board deliberation about issues affecting the value of the recommended properties and whether there should be negotiations regarding the purchase price, especially in cases where the presence of endangered species would greatly inhibit the potential development of a particular property. Staff indicated that the long-standing practice was to pay the appraised value for properties under $500,000. Currently, Board Resolution No. 2007-300 states the following:

Section II(B) Offer Amount Methodology

If the estimated value of the property is less than $500,000.00, Real Estate Services staff shall secure one narrative appraisal report from a licensed real estate appraiser on an approved list with Collier County and on the Florida Division of State Lands list of appraisers. The Offer Amount will be equal to the appraised value.

As a result of the deliberations, the Board did not approve any Conservation Collier property acquisitions on December 13, 2022. The Board further recommended that it may be appropriate to negotiate with a property owner regarding the ultimate purchase price, particularly in these “willing seller” properties and in cases where endangered species are present, already affecting the ultimate use and value of a property. The County Attorney is initiating an Executive Summary for future Board consideration to amend Resolution 2007-300 to strike the clause that the offer amount for a property will be equal to the appraised value, allowing for future negotiation. The ability to negotiate the purchase price would provide a direct benefit to County taxpayers, as savings to Conservation Collier would be available for future property acquisitions. 

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