Monday, October 23, 2017

City says no to closing Naples Pier at night

naples pier sunset


As part of an effort to respond to noise complaints in the area, the Naples City Council decided against closing down the Naples Pier during the overnight hours in a meeting on Wednesday.

But parking could go.

The council voted to send the issue to the city’s Community Services Advisory Board, with a recommendation to close overnight parking at the Pier’s 12th Avenue South parking lot.

“I’d like to see what CSAB has to say about it, I think they’re a good sounding board for us,” Mayor Bill Barnett said, casting the deciding vote in a 4-3 decision.

Since the Pier’s reconstruction in 2015, the number of visitors has increased by over 50 percent compared to 2014, the last full year the Pier was open. Over 1.6 million people came to the Pier in 2016.

Closing the pier overnight, from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., one of the suggestions brought forward, was agreed to be unnecessary by the council.

“I’m not in favor of changing anything in the operations of the Pier right now, as far as hours go,” Councilmember Doug Finlay said. “I just don’t think the evidence is there, but I am sympathetic to noise issues in the neighborhood and hopefully there is a way to help that out.”

Naples police chief Tom Weschler said there isn’t any issue with crime at the Pier or any other portions of the city’s beaches.

“If we close down the Pier that’s not really solving the problem, the problem is in the neighborhood area,” Councilmember Michelle McLeod said. “Closing or limiting the parking during these noise complaint times is really the only solution I see on that.”

Others didn’t think any changes needed to be made.

Councilmember Sam Saad offered the suggestion of simply placing a sign in the vicinity reminding late night Pier goers that they are in a residential neighborhood.

“I don’t think we should do anything,” Saad said. “I think the Pier is fine.”

The CSAB is expected to bring a decision back in August, after the council’s summer recess.

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