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NAPLES, FL-It appears Collier County government officials already may be at an impasse as they await the outcome of the appraisals ordered on a 1.75-acre strip of privately owned land in the 342-acre Barefoot Beach Preserve.

The owner, Ricky Stauffer, has no intention of selling, Paul Harvey, a Naples businessman who owns a 40-year lease on the beachfront property, tells GlobeSt.com.

“The problem is the property is not for sale,” says Harvey, who operates the Cocohatchee Marina in Naples under a separate lease agreement with the Collier County Commission. “I don’t know how many times we’ve told them that. “(Stauffer) is not interested in selling it. If she was, I would have bought it.”

This apparent impasse comes as county officials recently learned that Florida Attorney General Robert Butterworth declared the use of hotel bed tax proceeds as an appropriate source of money to buy this highly prized piece of land.

“We are securing the appraisals for review by the county commissioners for any further decision concerning the potential acquisition of the parcel,” Collier County Attorney David C. Weigel told GlobeSt.com in an interview last week.

In the face of heavy public opposition, the county commission earlier this year rejected a plan by Harvey to construct a public concession and a private club on a site that is accessible only by water. The decision stunned Harvey, he says, especially since he thinks the county may be considering a similar type of publicly owned concession on the site.

“The problem is the idea of developing a private club,” Harvey says. “It took me two years to go through the county planning staff. It wasn’t even that big of an operation until staff started adding conditions to it.”

What bothers Harvey the most about this issue, however, is the county commission’s decision to rescind earlier declarations.

“In a nutshell, it’s our perspective Rickey purchased this property fair and square 30 years ago,” Harvey tells GlobeSt.com. “We went to the county and asked about development rights. They even agreed to partner with us by bringing the sewer line down at half the cost. When they said they were going to partner with us, we thought everything was all right. Then we go and spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars on the project.”

In light of the recent developments, Harvey doubts whether the county intends to make a fair and equitable bid on the property. He doesn’t think the appraisals will consider the long-term value of the site as a potentially profitable going concern.

“You’re also talking about one of the most expensive buildable lots anywhere,” Harvey says. That’s why it appears Stauffer and Harvey already are preparing a fight against county officials, if the county files an eminent domain action.

“You’re talking about a major property rights case here,” Harvey says. “If you don’t want someone to build on their property, you should buy it at its fully developable value. I think the problem the county has is with me, because I don’t back off. I saw they were taking advantage of Ricky.”

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