Golden Gate Estates nefarious history

Collier-County-Communities-Webserver –

Random excerpts from various websites:

Exacerbating the biological problem is the ever-present human intrusion. The list of affronts to the landscape grows with numbing regularity in south Florida. First the swamp was logged for its cypress; its land was cleared for pasture; its snails and orchids were pirated by collectors. Then came the real estate agents, along with canals and levees and the fly-by-night land sales that have become a standard Florida joke.
The worst of these, according to Levin, was “Golden Gate Estates, the world’s largest subdivision. A projected community of four hundred thousand, Golden Gate Estates
became one of Florida’s most nefarious real estate scams. Spurious salespeople sold twenty-nine thousand lots over the telephone to out-of-state buyers who had no idea that by late June, despite 180 miles of recently dug drainage canals, they would need boats to reach their land.”

In the 1970s Golden Gate Estates’ abandoned roads, particularly Everglades Boulevard, were used as landing strips for DC-3s landed with South American drugs.

Golden Gate Estates(112,000 acres, 880 miles of roads, and 183 miles of canals);

Gulf American Land Corporation
(founded by Leonard and Julius “Jack” Rosen of Baltimore via Miami) which was formed in 1957. [. . .] Gulf American’s subsequent “developments” were land promotion schemes subdividing land, selling lots, and not much else using the technology of the day including the autotype machine, WATS line (and resulting boiler room sales promotion tactics), black & white television advertisements, national newspaper advertising, slick colorful sales brochures, the free steak dinner (to hear the sales pitch), and the “free” trips to Florida, and aggressive salesmen to close the deal. Gulf American purchased a travel agency and a charter airline with 15 planes to fly prospects to its developments at lower cost. By 1967 when Gulf Americans land sales activity peaked, it was Florida’s fourth largest publicly traded corporation with more than 500,000 acres of land for sale in Florida and across the
United States.


The mother of them all

Just south of Cape Coral, deep in the marsh country of Collier County and adjacent to Everglades National Park, lies the mother of all antiquated subdivisions: the 175-square-mile Golden Gate Estates. Lonely canals and little-used roads criss-cross this cypress swamp turned subdivision, which was originally platted in the early 1960s by the Gulf America Corporation. The company dug canals to drain the wetlands and carved the property into 1.25-acre lots. It then promoted Golden Gate worldwide as a vacation and retirement community. Most of the lots were sold by 1965, but unsuspecting buyers still get suckered into paying over $15,000 for a lot worth about $3,000.

In 1974, when the area was less than 10 percent developed, it became apparent to county officials that the project, with limestone roads and no centralized water and sewer system, could not support the number of platted lots. The county downzoned the property that year and required a minimum of 2.25 acres to build a house.

“The county recognized that it would have real problems if the entire area developed as originally platted,” says transportation director George Archibald. The county also took over road maintenance after the developer filed for bankruptcy in 1978. The property was sold to Avatar Holdings of Coral Gables soon after.

Today, three-fourths of Golden Gate Estates remains unoccupied. In 1985, the state targeted 42,000 acres in the southern part for purchase under its Conservation and Recreational Lands Program. Acquisition has proceeded slowly, hampered by the administrative burden of contacting over 17,000 far-flung lot owners. Thus far, the state has bought about 18,000 acres.


Golden Gates Estates was spread out over 114,000 acres of land in southwest Florida in Collier County, encompassing part of what is ominously called the Big Cypress Swamp. A small residential community called Golden Gate just three acres in size was to be surrounded by 113,397 acres of land sold in 1.25 acre tracts. All Gulf American would build was drain ditches and roads. The land sold at $800 an acre with the tag line “Buy it by the acre and sell it by the lot.” Prospective buyers were shown films of Cape Coral, a real successful community with churches, golf courses, and schools, and assumed the Rosens would duplicate their success at Golden Gates. They had no such intention. Leonard Rosen could have not been more clear. He said:

“We’re promising nothing, absolutely nothing. We’re offering what we believe to be an excellent investment at a low cost and with the company’s good name behind it. It will be a place where the unsophisticated investor can take pleasure in his property.”

The Rosens quickly began selling another offering, a 63,000 acre development in central Florida near Lake Wales they called River Ranch Acres with the same rules. No actual construction, just raw land to whomever wants to buy it.

Land which the Leonard and Julius purchased for less than $100 per acre was now being sold for $800 per acre on very soft terms such as $30 down, $30 per month at 6.5% interest. But unlike Golden Gates Estates which is just raw land, their new project was REALLY BAD raw land. Large sections of River Ranch Acres was literally underwater and much of the land that wasn’t submerged was near a U.S. Air Force practice bombing range! To boot, most of the buyers were denied mineral rights to their land since the Rosens believed there might be oil in the area!

Glossy brochures on Golden Gates Estates proclaimed these lots as “the first step to financial security.” Another screamed “It would be difficult to envision a commodity with a greater universal appeal than the type of land which Gulf American makes available to men and women of average means everywhere.” One of their full-color, SIXTEEN PAGE, advertisements appeared in every major U.S. Sunday newspaper simultaneously in 1967. The Rosens were soon spending more money promoting the virtues of life in Florida than the State of Florida’s tourist office itself.


Golden Gate
The Golden Gate Area is located in Collier County; it is not incorporated. The development was another project of the Rosen Brothers and their Gulf American Corporation (now Avatar Holdings, Inc.). Originally, Golden Gate was divided into three sections: Golden Gate City, North Golden Gate and Golden Gate Estates. Golden Gate Estates was intended to comprise five acre tracts, with little or no infrastructure built into the community plan. Golden Gate City and North Golden Gate had smaller lots, with some infrastructure planned. While some neighborhoods of these areas are almost fully
built-out, that is the rare case. Most of the lots in these areas are individually owned.

There are so many lots in Golden Gate, that should the area ever experience rapid development, the need for services and infrastructure likely would be overwhelming. In 1995, as part of its Evaluation and Appraisal Report, the Collier County Planning Department presented the following projections regarding infrastructure needs for the Golden Gate Area, using Charlotte County’s methodology. Staff used an average
household size for Collier County of 2.49 persons and applied that to the 23,966 lots in the area. Staff then projected a buildout population of 59,675 people with the following
projected needs.
• 10,640,830 gallons of potable water per day
• 6,959,678 gallons of wastewater treated per day
• 74 acres of community parks
• 169 acres of regional parks
• $10,295,722 for recreational facilities
• 18,981 square feet of library space with 77,649 volumes
• 138 jail beds plus 50 staff
• 7 new schools for K-12 public education
• 148,397 square feet of government office space
Considering that Golden Gate Area is only one of many such subdivisions, the service costs and infrastructure needs could be overwhelming. However, southwest Florida has
made limited strides in dealing with its platted lands. Lots in Golden Gate Estates South are being purchased by the state under the Save Our Everglades Conservation and
Recreation Land Project. This purchase is a critical component in protecting important hydrological connections among Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and the Everglades National Park.


152 Responses to “Golden Gate Estates nefarious history”

  1. simplify3 Says:

    Wow! #1 website when searching for Golden Gate Estates history! I’d better put some non-nefarious history on here as well :) We DO have a checkered past – hopefully our future is less checkered!

    NeighborHelp Referrals’ AFFORDABLE TRAPPING

    Join Golden Gate Estates Business/Hobby Word-of-Mouth Database

  2. Ivan Drechsler Says:

    I am looking for the tie-in of the Rosen and Bing Crosby… I think the plaque on the Golden Gate CC has Bing’s name on it?

  3. Trent Seguin Says:

    I heard there was a book written about this. Does anyone know about it? I think the name was something along the lines of “Lies, bad lies, and what became truth” any help.

    • mike Says:

      The book is called “Selling The Dream: The Gulf American Corporation and the building of Cape Coral, Florida” by David Dodrill…much of it covers Golden Gate Estates as well. A great book.

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Born and raised in Naples…Golden Gate Estates is too big for its own good…driving through there is a ridiculous maze. It’s quite beautiful back there and I’m glad to hear that the south lots are being purchased by the state. My Dad invested in a couple of lots a few years back, somehow thinking it was a smart move…which depending on the location, yeah…but he didn’t do his research on the history as you have, and he’s paying the price now with the current slump in property values. I’ll have to send him to this site so he can see the bigger picture.

  5. Naplesguy Says:

    I live off Everglades and 27 Av Ne, I think the landing gear off one off those drug running DC-3 planes is in my backyard. If Im lucky ile find some square grouper as well. I new I moved to the twilight zone from Miami.Overall,however, there is no place like it.

    • jerry gage Says:

      Hey Naplesguy
      I may move to 3540 54th NE from here in Las Vegas. I am retired finally. I am 100% disabled from the V. A. I am only 61, and no one can tell that I am disabled when they see me, I just can not run far. What I am saying is that I am very capable of living in the outskirts of a town unassisted, wife yes, week end girlfriend sometimes.
      Please do me an easy favor. Go down the street and tell me if 3540 54th Ave NW is a dump. On the real estate page the pictures of it look good. On google maps it looks like you would pass it on a long dog walk. From 27th and Eglds
      GGE seems isolated from what I can see of it on line but it, I guess, it is only a half hour from the marinas in Naples, I will get a boat there. And I would spend my days there socializing with other fishermen, boat people, Ex-sailors and talkative women, (hopefully).
      Be sure to include naplesguy in the email under subject or I will delete it without knowing it wass you. I get dozens of generic emails from real estate people each day. Also I have nationwide unlimited long distance so you can call if you want and I’ll call you back and I think it is no charge to either of us, I DON’T KNOW THAT FOR SURE. (702) 822 0199.

      • Mari Says:

        I don’t kno if you will every read this, but the area is not bad. It’s like living in a suburban area. I came from Miami and it’s just lots of land some houses have large lots and some have smaller lots, and some lots are still vacant. I love it… Peace and quiet and beautiful beaches.

  6. John Hepner Says:

    Lies That came True

  7. Cheryl Says:

    I live in upstate NY & was considering purchasing a vacation home in Golden Gate Estates. Is this place a safe investment for my money or should I look elsewhere in Naples? I’m concerned with Grow Houses and Crime & WHATEVER other surprises we may not know about.

  8. Kenneth Udut Says:

    I live in the heart of Golden Gate Estates – actually, very deep within it.

    There is no visible personal crime that I’ve seen out here.

    I’m sure stuff happens, but it doesn’t affect me.

    There are grow houses, but you wouldn’t know they are there. And I don’t see cars getting stolen, or crimes against random folks. Domestic violance happens out here (as everywhere).

    People keep to themselves.

    The distances between houses is usually too far apart to make “convenient crime” really possible.

    So yes, it’s safe here. And I’m from Jersey, so I know about crime :-)


  9. Cheryl Says:

    Thanks Ken……..We are originally from Jersey also. We Love Naples, Florida. I was hoping to purchase a home there soon. Unfortunately the house we fell in love with in Golden Gate Estates is under contract & has its closing this coming Monday. So, we are still looking.

    • simplify3 Says:

      There’s a lot of other houses in gge that are for sale as well. The prices can’t be beat right now.

      One thing a lot of ppl outside of the area don’t know right now is that a lot of new services are coming to this area.

      There used to be just one convenience store. Now there are two. And a a couple of small supermarkets, pizza parlours and a giant supermarket is poised to come in the next couple of years. We’re getting our first Walgreens (like CVS) out here too – it’s about 95% finished.

      It’s suburban / semi-rural living. Can’t walk to anyplace but you can’t beat the weather.

    • Tim Ryan Says:

      Let me know if I can help you with finding Naples Real Estate. I can have you receive email alerst as new properties get listed.

  10. Cheryl Says:

    Sounds great! Many homes appear available, however when I have my realtor check the status on them (more than a dozen) they are all under contract. I’ll Keep Looking!!

  11. Kimberly Says:

    Look on

  12. Glvoyager Says:

    I am working on a book, impart, covers gge. Will you e-mail me. Thanks

  13. TimA Says:

    I have sevaral houses in GGE. Love it. The area from Collier Blvd to about 10 St (5 blocks behind Wilson) is great. In general in info here is dated.

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  15. Chuck Feney Says:

    What’s the deal with the water out there? All the homes are on wells- any problems with water quality/quantity? (I drove through in the dry season, and it was BONE dry… I couldn’t believe it- like driving in the desert!) And, speaking of water, just how wet is it in July and August? (Need a boat to get around?!!) Are the mosquitoes thick as fog, or what?
    It’s really not that far from Naples- I bet it would be pretty cool to live out there. As for the whole “grow houses” thing, as long as they aren’t meth. labs, I really don’t care what they’re growin’ out there. Damn libs will probably legalize it soon, anyway- then the “grow houses” are outta biz, anyway.

    • mitch Says:

      Hey Chuck,
      I have lived in the estates for about 7 years now and you are smart to be concerned about some of the topics you listed. The water can be a small issue. It has a sulfer-ish smell straight from the well but can be easily brought to a clean, odor-free, state with a decent treatment system. The dry season can be very dry, at times, but since we are on well, water is essentially free. Therefore a decent irrigation setup is the solution to keeping the property looking lush and tropical. The trade-off for the inconvenience of watering is the amazing, perfect weather with blue skies and cool breezes this time of year. In the wet season everyone’s property looks green and nice but, yes it rains every afternoon, and it’s hot. We don’t have any flooding issues during this time, but I know that others do. For brief periods of time during the wet season, the mosquitoes can get pesky but not horrible. If you add in the fact that we are constantly seeing hawks, eagles, deer, bear, and numerous other varieties of awesome wildlife that we live alongside, it’s easy to recommend this area to anyone without reservation. I get around the neighborhood and I haven’t encountered any growhouses and definitely no meth labs, so I’m pretty sure there’s no epidemic in either respect.

  16. Peter R Says:

    Hi I am thinking about purchasing also in GGE. Some questions.

    1. Water + Quality
    2. Mosquitos?
    3. Vehicle Access
    4. Internet Services (Comcast?)

    Any help would be appreciated

  17. carylongchamps Says:

    Anyone ever hear about the abandoned lab out off of Oil Well Grade Rd? I lived out there for years and had never heard about it till now.

  18. Brian Says:

    To clarify, this is mainly about the SOUTHERN Golden Gate Estates. Very different from the rest. South of I-75 is a completely desolate grid of roads we all refer to as “the blocks”. Look at the map on this link:
    You can see that the red boxed grid is the area that was formerly underwater and used for running drugs, but trust me anywhere you’re looking at buying a home now is NOT there, it’s farther north across I-75. (Plus I’m pretty sure that Southern Estates are now mostly, or all government owned) In the rest of Golden Gate Estates, it’s plenty civilized with most homes on septic but the water (may or may not be well) quality is as good as the city. Mosquitoes are bad as would be expected, worse when it’s wet out. Vehicle access is just fine because everything is paved and there’s cable and all just like anywhere else.

  19. ken Says:

    Yes, this is about old history of southern gge, not the part where ppl live.

    I live off desoto, and we have DSL. Our neighbor down the road has Comcast.

    Well water is fine – just have to take care of it, which is no big deal.

    Most of the grow houses have been “busted” since my original posting, we even picked up more land here last year.

    Come on down and join the neighborhood – its quite nice and natural. Quite unique.

    Affordable Trapping
    Naples FL

  20. Rosemary Atkinson Says:

    I bought land in Golden gate Estates in 1965 . I was wondering if anyone ,got BACK any of their property ? Did the city of Miami , get it all? I was 24 when i bought it ,so i would not be on welfare like my parents were when i retired Ha Ha . I am now 70 , and on soc . Sec. It was such a shame , that we got took . I think , i was offered 700 at one time , but said i would n’t lower myself anymore about that property . They could have offered at least what we paid . Those were the days we still trusted people’s words . Then they had the nerve to ask us for money to give to ,probally some crooked lawyer ,to try to fight it . Never heard another word after that !!! It haunts me to this day !! Every thing LOOKED so legitmate then . I remenber , having to scrimp on groceries ,to get enough money to make those payments . It was Comerical property near the main road of alligator alley . I picture a Motel there ( ha Ha ) . Thanks for reading this !

  21. Joe Says:

    Excellent article.

    I wrote the following in regards to the new shopping center at Wilson and Golden Gate boulevards. Today I live off of DeSoto and I love it out here.

    As always the loudest voices is that of the vocal minority. Funny how many of these same folks complain about government interference and insist on the free enterprise system functioning without government interference and when it does they still whine. The GGE Shopping Center is free enterprise at work, isn’t that what we all support? Jobs and economic growth?

    The fact is that the majority of GGE residents do want accessible groceries, banking, post offices and other services. The other factor for supporting the project is the jobs it will create in a time of economic woes, jobs that are much needed in our community. Drive around the Estates and you can’t help noticing the numerous empty and abandoned houses. The area is already in decline and it has more of a chance of becoming a rural ghetto than a West Broward or Kendall as some opponents allege. Declining property values attest to this.

    There are arguments that it will ruin the rural setting is a humbug. Nothing could be further from reality. Sure those that live close to the center will be impacted but they should have thought of that when they bought their properties close to the convenience of the main roads and intersections. Most of us know what inevitably happens in Florida on main roads and intersections. For them to complain now seems to want to penalize the rest of us for their lack of foresight. I for one was very much aware of this and made sure that I bought my home deep in the Estates so I would not be impacted. So for those that didn’t plan ahead and wanted the convenience of having the main roads nearby my answer to you is tough. You can’t have it both ways. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. So to obfuscate the issue with romantic platitudes of country living avoids the reality that this is no longer the Florida of the 1960’s. And many of those responsible for it not being so are used as the basis of the argument for opposing the shopping center. But in fact, it is the very basis for supporting it.

    This brings us to the master plan argument. This argument is debunked before it even gets off the ground. Are we forgetting who the original planners of GGE were? Does the name Gulf American Land Corporation ring a bell to anyone? How about the name Julius and Leonard Rosen? They were land developers looking for a quick buck. These were the original master planners of GGE an area that was originally designed to make that quick buck on overpriced parcels to unsuspecting out-of-staters and giving fame to the sale of Florida swampland and land sale scams worldwide. So to insist on the Rosen’s obsolete master plan as originally designed by these opportunistic con men seems to be a bit ignorant. I remember those times very well since in my youth I worked for General Development Corporation and the Lehigh Corporation’s First United Investors, so I am very well aware of all the behind the scenes going-ons that I was privy to. Buyers were not people but units very much the same as the imaginary lines on a map that designated property boundaries and non-existent roads. The Rosen brothers’ Gulf American Land Corporation followed a business model that was in every way identical to that of the Mackle brothers’ General Development Corporation and other land sales companies. Golden Gate Estates with its 112,000 acres was projected to have a population of around 400,000 residents by the original master planners. Where is the planning for all the infrastructure to support a population that large on the original master plan? The planning is not there. So to use the master plan argument is quite baseless.

    The fact is that these developers only foresight was how big their bank accounts were going to grow. That the area was actually going to be populated as it is today never came into play for them. So much of the environmental and infrastructure considerations never came into play in their quest for the quick dollar. I remember how as a high pressure salesman I would tell stories to unsuspecting buyers, or units, of the areas potential. Of the future shopping centers, churches, parks community centers, schools, airports, roads, etc. That was the dream that was sold. What was being sold was a dream that wasn’t to be realized in the lifetime of these buyers ( units ) and land sales companies knew this. But of course we omitted that little detail to those unsuspecting victims 30 years ago when I was involved in the land sales business, the same story that had been peddled since the 1950’s. Calling buyers units was a way of de-personalizing individuals as much as the little rectangles on the map that represented the dream they were being sold. To me it was just a job at the time. So maybe my support for the center is to correct the wrongs of so many broken promises of which I was a conduit.

    Today the dream is slowly being realized within our lifetimes and probably more so in our kids lifetime, not because of the original master planners the Rosens’ but in spite of them. The realization of that dream that was sold to the many enthusiastic unsuspecting buyers is due more to other factors other than any foresight that the original master planners, the Rosens’, may have had. Because the reality is if that master plan would have had the foresight that was sold to those unsuspecting buyers this would not even be an issue today. Spaces would have been set aside for all the amenities that were promised and reason would dictate that the corner of Golden Gate and Wilson boulevards would have been one of those spaces. So the GG Shopping Center is a step in the correction of a flawed master plan that was conceived in a past of unmitigated greed of developers whose dream was to squeeze the last penny out of every square inch of land without thought that people would actually be living here someday. They definitely didn’t plan for that.

    So because of this I enthusiastically support the GG Shopping Center and the other one by the Waterways.

    • Jose Says:

      It is a rural ghetto, but also a rural mansions drive. a little of both. the poor and the rich, and the skelotons of the rich who are now poor. I saw houses out there that had 6 car garages, with grass up to the windows

  22. cynthia Says:

    Jusy moved off of Everglades BLVD south of GG Blvd. Very beautiful, quiet and peaceful. Picayune Strand State Forest nearby) is a gem, have seen plenty of folks riding bikes and jogging along with hunters coming and going. Everyone seems to get along. Really neat place. It is mid July and the skeeters are not bad at all.

  23. Carroll (CC ) Rosborough Says:

    Hello Brothers n Sisters

    Looks 4 sure like justmight be a enormous forum for me
    I am content to have found it.

    Who knows what happens next… All I know is: Except for 75% of the women, everyone in the whole world wants to have sex. :


    Anybody into Model Rockets

    Looking forward to a good long sojourn here!

    Michigan,Paw Paw Lake

  24. Mike Says:

    I too am from Western New York area, very rural farming area, and am looking at Naples and Golden Gates Estates area due to what appears to be excellent opportunities. So the question is, why are homes being abandoned or sold off there in such high numbers? It seems the water issue gets skimmed over. Is there ample water in quality and quality? What are the reasons the area has seen such a decline and what explains the high number of homes foreclosed etc. there?

    • Joe Says:

      Mike the problem here is not the water. The water I get is great. I drink it on occasions, of course I run it through a Kinnetico water system. The water comes out clear, had it tested and it’s better than any municipal water you’re going to get. (no chlorine or fluorides).
      For drinking and cooking I have reverse osmosis system that I picked up at Lowes for about $160.00. I had that tested and I’m drinking better water than anyone who drinks municipal water or for that matter, I know that is hard to believe, better than any bottled water you buy at the store. Plastic water bottles release harmful chemicals like dioxins. Eventually the plastic bottle breaks down into carcinogens as they decompose. And if they’re heated they release other harmful chemicals like Bisphenol A. How can you know how much heat those bottles were subjected during transport and stocking on shelves before you purchase them? Have you ever gone by a store and seen the pallets of water bottles just sitting outside on a pallet under the hot sun? I know I have.

      Well sorry I got off topic. To answer your question; the problem in Golden Gates is not the water, it is the lack of jobs. That is why people are leaving. Most are upside down on their mortgages and can’t pay, so they leave seeking greener pastures. It’s mostly a practical business decision.

      So there are great opportunities here and don’t let any rumours about bad water keep you from taking advantage of them. Just make sure you have a job before relocating here or you can wind up going back to were you came from.

      • Mike Says:

        Ok, thanks. So the water is fine with quality and quanity with the wells not running dry? How about the mentioned flooding? What areas would recommend the highest and lowest? I appreciate the help. Of course, none of this info will replace my coming down for a week to “look around”, but it helps to narrow things down so I am not wasting my or a Realtor’s time.
        Thanks again.
        Mike :)

  25. Umbrella Stand Says:

    the best vacation homes are those that are located near the beaches, they are really cool -.;

  26. Tim Ryan Says:

    Thanks for creating the open forum on Golden Gate Estates. I sell Naples real estate and work on making great real estate websites for my buyers and sellers. I just lanched a new one for Golden Gate Estates. The site will improve dramatically! I actually have the com and net. Contact me if you have questions about the real estate.

  27. Audreyvgs Says:

    I wasn’t clear whether Rosemary still owned the lot. I hope she does~!

    Mike probably didn’t know about the huge balloon in home values a few years back, heck, a property I paid 130 thousand for 30 years ago went to a million two! A whole bunch of people tried to flip houses here, bought high and got stuck. The fluctuations weren’t as bad in other places, hence the recession wasn’t as bad up north as it is here. I would think now that my property is back to normal, well, less than normal, but it’ll be ok, but I think that now is the time to buy, before it gets better as far as real estate. I think my property is now worth over 500 thousand, which isn’t bad. I’d of rather had the 1.2, but I felt no compunction to leave. I’m grandfathered in on my horses in town, I get a homestead exemption, which is something new for beginners, but it cuts your taxes, which aren’t really bad here either. Drill your well deep, and that will probably be fine, in the dry season. Septic and wells, they’re a pain sometimes, but nothin’s better than not having to pay some city water and sewer. There’s lots of real estate here for sale now, and in GGate it’s mostly very private…if you’re handy at fixing up places, it’ll be even better.

  28. Will Golden Gate Estates Flood? - Naples - Florida (FL) -Collier County - City-Data Forum Says:

    […] […]

    • Naplesguy Says:

      I just got the message and ile check it out for you if you still need me too just let me know

  29. Naplesguy Says:

    This is my annual follow up. I have been here now 10 years and the estates Is in a transition to the future. Already the Walgreens is finished and 2 large commercial shopping centers are in transport planning stages. As the other person noted the only problem here is employment. The County has don’t little to nothing to create employment out here. Consequently, folks leave and thier taxes don’t get paid, thus, the county loses millions in ad valorem taxes.As a former Miami boy born and raised and the great grandson of J Frances Williams mango grower and shipper in Miami since 1927 I can relate to declining communities. Miami is full of them Naranja, Kendall, Homestead etc. I lived in all of these communities and the common denominated here is the midlle class leaves and the ghetto moves in. However, I do not see this happening in the Estates, this is more like te Redlands in the 1970s and with the right leadership will go far. I hold a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from FIU in Miami and I have yet to find a job after 3 years I have given up. I am very disappointed with the laque of leadership here. I dont like to ride the hope boat but I pray that jobs will come and we too won’t have to leave to greener pastures. As far as flooding goes there is a 100 year possibility and I suggest you buy high and dry land, look for slash pine and palmetto NO CYPRESS because that’s a water tree. The land elevations are differant from house to house. We all have fill pads do a CLOMA letter will exempt you from FEMA flood insurance if your above the base flood elevation that I still don’t understand bacause the maps are all changed and the NGVD Datum was converted to another and I am not sure where the benchmarks are located to pull off of. Overall it’s crime free and safe. We all have guns so you’d be an idiot to come here to rob. I am always ready to rock and roll since I was raised Miami with an AR15 and 9mm but here I have never had to use it. This is a great place and I recommend it for people who can get government jobs or the retired, the rest will have a hard time finding a decent job but again I pray this changes.

  30. Audreyvgs Says:

    Generally, I’ve always thought of Golden Gate as a service community to greater Naples, it’s where the worker bees live. People here have stores in town, and businesses they have in town or run from their homes, they grow things in their backyards or don’t, they have the options of having horses and chickens, if they want to The decline of the building industry hit us first, and is lasting a while. Lots of homes are on the market right now at great deals. Golden Gate can be relatively far from town, but there are advantages like peace and quiet. I live further in, having bought 5 acres 24 years or so ago, the taxes aren’t bad, and we’re relatively close to town. A few years back we even got buses to help transport us to town, thats a relief. Every big town had to start someplace, and I think that as Naples grows, we’ll be insulated from that for a while. I like it here. It fits me. If I lived any closer to town, I’d feel like a bird in a cage, with all their rules.

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  32. Noelia @ Naples Florida Real Estate Says:

    @Tim – Congratulations on the Golden Gate website. You have done a really good job there. Is that a WordPress template you are using?

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  34. Robert Boettger Says:

    I’m an out of state land owner in North Golden Gate. Just got some paperwork from an oil & gas company looking to lease our property for drilling. Does anyone out there know anything about this activity? Has drilling started anywhere yet? Any success?

    • Jose Says:

      sounds like a scam. I dont think there is any oil drilling around here, maybe they want to grow weed on your land or use it as a storage lot for a bunch of junk cars or trucks

      • Robert Says:

        Thanks for you response about the potential oil/gas drilling.
        Responded to the company with counter offer and of course have never heard back. Agree with your assesment.

    • cmm Says:

      whats the name of the oil co.

  35. Audeyvgs Says:

    Holy moly, I thought that the Colliers owned 99% of all the oil rights on property here. I haven’t heard anything like this. There are oil wells in Collier. The Colliers own air rights too. Some have asked for release from this encumbrance, and gotten the rights back, but generally anybody who gets a deed in Collier County has their air and mineral rights spoken for.

  36. marisol Says:

    i am currently in the works to purchase a lot in golden gates estates off of desoto blvd n , anyone familiar with the place/////

    • Cynthia Says:

      I think that is where they are planning to put that new city Big Cypress which I have heard will be larger than Ave. Maria.

    • Jose Says:

      Middle of nowhere, this is far from town, no stores, no nothing. why wuold you buy land there? I hope it is not an investment, sounds like you need to go there first, and see what i mean. Ave Maria is nothing, And this cypress thing… I dont know.

  37. Jose Says:

    No gas stations for miles, walmart is an hours drive from some places, hospitals are another hours drive. There is a DMV and a tools place, and a cuban grocery store. a couple pizza places. that is it, North Naples is at least 45 minutes away.

    Golden Gate is not a bad place if you understand and like living in the woods where no one will mess with you. I have worked there alot, I haul away scrap metal and I have seen alot of properties and I have come to understand the concerns and problems that can be found there. I can assure you growhouses are everywhere, and if they start one next door just look the other way, becuase this is normal and it really is not your problem. It is a bisness like anyother, if they catch them they lose. Growhouses are a problem if you are into others properties and are nosey, I am sure they just want to grow the weed in peace and kept it down low, not have a shooting where everyone can find out what is going on. Most of the growhouses are cubans tring to pay back some type of loan to a mafia. They are normal citizens who are harmless to others unless you try to steal the plants or something.

    In the estates you need to respect others land, everyone has guns and are waiting to use them. Going into someones land or house is asking for a gunshoot wound. And everyone knows that, so you are certain to know your land will also be respected. There are alot of BIG people from drug lords to political figures hiding in those woods, they fell safe knowing they live in the middle of nowhere. I have meet really famous political guys who have homes out there and the next door people dont know them becuase the place is so private.

    Ideal place for a redneck or anyone who owns alot of junk, and someone who hates to see another mans face. It is lonely out here.
    If you are an anti social person dont wait to move there, it will be perfect for you.

  38. Jose Says:


    growhouses, it is like a bisness, not going to affect you
    crime, people will respect your land, or die
    hatians and cubans, are workclass (they can afford a house there)
    (too busy growing weed and paying bills to bother you)
    Aligators dont come on dryland, they stay in the canal
    You can have anything on your land, forklifts, trains, airplane

    Problems that will affect you if you move to the estates are:

    You can have anything on your land, forklifts, trains, airplane
    (your street may look like a military junkyard)
    people have alot of animals and loud trucks, it is legal
    Snakes are everywhere
    You need to have guns and dogs, for this is the middle of nowhere
    dont be surpriced to find a bear on your driveway
    During hurracanes the place is 1 feet in water, the WHOLE PLACE.
    After hurracnes, the place can be blocked for 5 days (water + trees)
    You will need a huge truck, 4×4
    traffic along GG Blvd and wilson and evergaldes is bad at 4pm
    Your daily drive to work and back will suck, bad
    Vacant homes everwhere, drepressing
    Nothing to do outside your land and house, you live in nowhere
    Fireants and aligators, alot of bugs too
    hot and humid summers
    if your car breaks down, no one will help you

  39. Audreyvgs Says:

    Or, you can research where you buy your land, mine is 14 ft. up, no standing water ever, we have neighbors we’ve had for over 15 years, friendly and helpful. There are streets where there aren’t abandoned houses, and there are streets that are crappy. I live in the Estates, and I have 2 large hospitals within 5 miles of me. The guy that owned the place before me collected junk, and I am still mad at him. But it’s cleaned up now. It’s what you make it.

    • Marisol Says:

      Ok thanks..I’ve been reading a lot about the area..I know for a fact that golden gates compares a huge area..,,I visited the place over 7 years ago and it seemed really desolate..but now I was surprised to see all the homes that have been built since then..I went through oil well dr.and it looks like the street is being expanded widely,,I was told that by Everglades blvd..a public was coming to the area..I don’t really mind the growth since either way the lots are huge and homes are still built very sort from each other..

      • Marisol Says:

        A publix

      • Marisol Says:

        And by the way desoto seemed far but it seemed so peaceful ..I was their this past weekend…and coming from Miami I can’t inmagine more traffic than what we have over here..and here in miami when hurricanes come it’s the same flooding problem ..and the same fallen trees…

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  44. charles Says:

    gas &oil

  45. Mickey Says:

    GG Estates is great if you like peace and quiet…. there isn’t much commercial activity here so if you want stores and businesses close you don’t want to live here.

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  48. NaplesGuyToo Says:

    Test. My previous post did not show up. Let me see if this works now.

  49. NaplesGuyToo Says:

    It’s sad that there is so little activity here. I guess everybody is on FB and blogs like this don’t get used any more. I found this blog while searching for some history of GGE to include in a power point presentation about my garden here. I have hundreds of bromeliads, orchids and other tropical in my personal botanical garden which makes the Estates a personal paradise for me. I’ll have to sort out the conflicting items listed in the beginning of this thread. I guess it was assembled from various sources over time.

    I was really trying to figure out what this area was before the developers came in. We are presently sandwiched on the South by the Picayune Strand State Forest which adjoins the Big Cypress National Preserve which in turn borders on the wet freshwater prairies of Everglades National Park to the south, and other state and federally protected cypress country in the west, with water from the Big Cypress flowing south and west into the coastal Ten Thousand Islands region of Everglades National Park and on the North by Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed. In 1947 when Everglades National Park was founded the Cypress area was to be included but it was all in private hands. I can only presume this to have been Collier land and that the GGE area was part of the great Cypress Swamp. I wish I could find out more information on this transformation.

    I wonder what my land looked like back in the 40s before all this development started. My soil is pure sand with rock a foot below and top soil does not really exist. That is what I don’t understand. If there were trees and vegetation growing here over hundreds or thousands of years, why is there nothing left from the decaying plant life? Did it wash away during the flood season or what? Right now I have magnificent Live Oaks and giant Slash Pines on my 7.5 acres but I don’t see any old stumps from prior growth. It puzzles me.

    Anybody have any thoughts on this?

    • Charlie Says:

      About the non-existent topsoil, I think your the rain combined with organic matter creates carbonic acid. Also, there is tannic acid. I think those acids remove what is required for the topsoil you might want. It seems like I have heard that slash and burn only works in rainforest for a short time because there typically isn’t any soil and everything is in the forest itself. So when the forest is gone you end up with zilch. Like I said, I am no soil scientist. But, I may be moving down there, so would like to become acquainted with residents.

      • Fred Rump Says:

        Since I wrote the above I’ve done quite a bit of reading and research about what really happened here in the 60s. To be brief, after the area was cleared and canals had been dug, the entire ecology changed almost overnight. Water levels dropped and moisture was left to rain not the slow flow of the glades. In 1970 all of the lots in my neighborhood were hustled off to unsuspecting buyers from the northern states. Mostly sight unseen. 5 acres went for $4750 if you paid cash or $4950 on time with 20 bucks down and 20 bucks a month. In 1971 about 1/4 of Collier County burned down. Huge forest fires cleared the GGE. They only had 10 firefighters and a handful of houses in the area at the time. I have a few trees which have black burn marks on them and have always wondered when there was a fire. Now I know. There have been fires before and since. I presume now that they consumed whatever vegetation existed completely. In my wet areas I have many feet of black muck from centuries of deposits. These did not burn. I’m just glad that the Southern Golden Gate Estates are being returned to nature as much as we can with the highways running through to block the flow but at least they are trying.

  50. Full Throttle Diversified Services Says:

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  51. Jack Off Says:

    I lived in Naples for 10 years and spent every week-end 4WDriving in South Golden Gate. I left for Belize in 2005 when the Gov. was repossessing all the lots. Good buddy of mine bought in 72, paid $2,000 and that’s all the Gov. gave him back 30 years later. There were still some good old boys living off the grid out there.
    The 99% people in the US are good people, but the State of Florida and the Feds have turned the place into a Police State.

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  54. GFM0765 Says:

    This is a great site/blog. I’ve become very interested in the history of Florida and started with the St. Pete/Tampa area. I absolutely love learning about the land scams – this one and Lehigh in particular. I want to come down for a drive and check things out.

    • Audrey Says:

      There are construction jobs galore here now, and restaurant during season. Living anywhere without a permit here means you’d have to have a large really wooded lot. There were land scams, the only land scam here is if you’re dumb enough not to have the land surveyed to find out if it’s protected wetlands, which I think you have to. Don’t buy that. There is no comparison to Golden Gate and Lehigh, I don’t think. Lehigh is an armpit. (my opinion )

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  56. ray Says:

    hi im seriously thinking about picking up a lot some of this stuff ive heard before some ive not. what there isnt is a out look ten years down

  57. ray Says:


    first economic. what robust sectors are there innaples.

    • NaplesGuyToo Says:

      It’s all about more snowbirds. Construction is back to pre-recession levels and the last few open areas are being converted to gated communities. The GGE are still an area of calm as lot sizes are restricted to 2.5 acres and builders can’t make any real money doing single homes.

  58. ray Says:

    despite all its faults and there are to many too type we need 50 more web sites for that, miami finally although it took almost its entire history

    to have that north eastern ability.

    where you can roll out of bed and have a job, in something.

    i dont see that ability in naples.

    thats what stops me.

  59. ray Says:

    also beyond?? a 1 to 1 employment situation which you poeple got nothing robust. like 100 resturuants or 100 construction sites.

    theres also…

    code poeple , here in miami they are everywhere i want to grow

    veggies , fruits fish, without permit for personal consumption.

    and small live stock + green house/// for living in it

    without permit

    also water storage 10 x 10 with out permit//

    also, storage shed 20 by 20 without permit,

    also build a 400 sq foot cottage dry no conections with out


    i also wanna do a small farm 1/2 acre without permit.

    so?? those are the things i wanna do with out permit//

  60. ray Says:

    do you think??? there would be enough single famalies built to work?? i work in construction however thats not at issue. as much as volume of work in anything. if someone could tell me there would be 1000 housing starts yearly it could be worth moving there.

    in any case the population here is grwong so much in b and dade.

    that naples will grow out of overflow.

    i estimate, 20,000 more poeple there.

  61. ray Says:

    i think you would see more activity when parks, and lakes and clubs are built.

  62. alive Says:

    Worst place in the world. I wil never move. Please don’t come here, because you will think you are deaf, and will only hear birds in your head. The schools are too new and have night lights for baseball diamond”s”. A professional running track. So, the problem is that school buses slow you down, from never having to leave your newer built houses. So, you have a choice of all cable and sattelite dishes.
    Please find somewhere else to live, and be sardined. If you do come this way, you will need a sit down mower, and a head scratcher to figure out why the taxes are low.

    • Audrey Says:

      Good One!

      • ray Says:

        nice green house. i envision an auto matic greenhouse

        with 75 percent veggie succes.

        where i can pic every 2 weeks.

      • ray Says:

        nice green house. i envision an auto matic greenhouse

        with 75 percent veggie succes.

        where i can pic every 2 weeks.

        can i let you in on a big secret.

        in 21 st century everywhere sucks,

        the country is infested and over run. this is not

        the 20 th century….1970 1980

        this is 21 st century A. and the only issue in this century.

        is which?? place sucks less than the other.

        naples is disgusting third world track already…..but

        is it as bad as the other place.

  63. ray Says:

    i went to naples to see for myself. i found it to be gigantic. the parcels are 75 ft by 600. the houses were disgusting stuco built on hills for whatever reason.and your neighbor if he buys a lot next door he can spit at your house hes pretty close.

    the roads are very long. there are no services in the western part. and down town is loaded with traffic. marco is land is super far. everything is really far. ppl are so so.

    just a spectacular amount of driving.

    the good stuff.

    lots are under 15 k. there are some many dead ends where you couod have the steeet to yourself. you could buy 2 or 3 lots for what a lot would be in miami. and have three lots to yourself.

    i tell you the truth for one good thing i saw a bad thing. for one bad thing i saw a good thing.

    so for me inconclusive.

    i have no opinion. i was not able to make one.

    i think the best i can say is. is that if those lots havevlittle restrictions and your not obliged to build. then i could tilt, toards it an inch. i did see alot of construction.

    • NaplesGuyToo Says:

      Ray, you should look a little harder. A 75 x 500 ft lot is a legacy lot no longer legal to be created as such. Minimum is now 2.5 acres per lot. I’m not sure what is disgusting about a concrete block house coated with stucco. Some are going for 50 million and up. Such concrete houses are far better than the stick homes one sees in other areas which blow away with the first good storm. As far as traffic goes – have you ever been to the East side of Florida? Horror of horrors.

  64. Ray Says:

    No im telling you that I left not being able to form an opinion really first time in my life. There was nothing there that sold me and nothing there that rejected me. it was inconclusive. It didn’t leave a tiaste as to what direction the place was going maybe that was my problem.

    Is it trying to be another Miami. Is it trying to be rural,… Is going to be a Weston, Its not clear what that area wants to be,

    I don’t know how you can do a Miami, If your loading the place up with houses, I don’t know how you can be rural if theres no farms, I don’t know how you can a suburb if theres no services.

    So I left that area not knowing which way the east naples is going.

    But that interesting you said .75 acres is no longer available.

    2.5 would be more of a selling point.

  65. Ray Says:

    at this point in the story 1970 1980 1990,

    Miami west palm broward already had services, night life, clubs hotels etc,.

    blocks away from it’s lots and houses. In the case? of your east Naples there, there’s nothing there except houses. So i’m looking at a powerful drive for any basic item. Also that east naples is mega detached from west Naples.

    All and All not bad not great. There was nothing there that sold me. As much as I tried for it to be. Just a regular South florida area. Congested Loaded with you know what and who, And filled with cars, And pretty much people trying to get in on the ground floor.

    Its reminds me of Miami 1970, 1980. But like I said absent services. Gas stations stores etc,. It looks as best as I can tell its going for a ranch theme.

    Nothing around by large sized type ranch homes. And it looks like its going to stay at that.

    I guess the question remains what kind of restrictions can be found in these 2.5 acres. Can you plant food have limited live stock etc,.

    • NaplesGuyToo Says:

      Of course you can plant whatever pleases you. I have a large shade house, a 30×60 greenhouse a couple smaller greenhouses, a koi pond, a pool, hundreds of bromeliads and 750 orchids. To me this is paradise. Neighbors have all kinds of animals from peacocks to cattle. Nobody tells you what to do. I have 7.5 acres and am 4 miles from civilization (ie Publix etc) which suits me fine.

      • ray Says:

        i would plant a row scheme 20 rows, 100 feet long, this is just to break g cheap. then one row tomato one spinach one brocili etc.then i would have a well plus a rain harvestor working off of a solar pump.

        and it would be watered every day.

        if 50 percent of all of it grew it would be a succes. cuase more than enough food for me.

      • nina Says:

        Every place on earth had it’s own problems, and when I get frustrated with things in the US I try to get in to a state of gratitude and remind my self how little opportunities people have in other countries or how much wars and hunger is happening all over…I agree Education is the solution and teach children to have respect to mother nature, after all the corporation cut down the trees and contaminate the waters, and poison all the food with GMO they will not be able to survive by eating and breading money, we are all dependent of the environment and educating people to respect and preserve is the only way our planet will survive

      • Lynn Says:

        Hi NaplesGuyToo, this is my first time on the forum/blog and I love what I’m reading, it covers vast topics and opinions. My husband and I are looking to venture off to a place where we can pretty much be left alone and been looking around in GGE recently and have seen how it was 10 yrs ago. We have the same idea like growing our own veggies, gardening and all the fun stuff. We looked at charlotte co. and have to be aware of the scrub jay areas, GGE….we have to be knowledgable in regards to wetland and the do’s and don’ts. I found info on the impact fees, bldg permits costs and I think I’m a bit nervous bcoz collier co is much higher than charlotte or lee co. We found a couple of acreage that has 90% upland (based on a recent study/wetland inspection) which we are happy. We want to understand more by talking to the ppl in the county office. We want to do our due diligence on everything we need to know before deciding on buying anything in GGE. I don’t know if I’m being too paranoid about that….

      • NaplesGuyToo Says:

        Yes paranoia can be a dangerous thing. Land in the Estates is relatively cheap today as the effects of the housing crash are still with us. Impact fees for a 3000 sq ft house will be around 20 grand. It may still be better to find a place that already has a house. You can always modify and enhance later on and save the 20 grand for that.

      • Lynn Says:

        Thank you so much for replying! Yeah, 20 grand for impact fees, not including building permits where that’s another 20 grand or so and/or whatever other permits that may be required. I appreciate your opinion on acreage with a house on it already. definitely something we have to consider. Thanks a bunch :)

      • nina Says:

        Lynn, how did you find the lot that is 90% dry, are you using a real estate person or ??? how big is it? I am also searching for land 5 acres in GGE and have not had any luck this week, wow I had no idea impact fees and permit fees were so high, I may just live in my RV and grow my garden:)

      • NaplesGuyToo Says:

        Living in an RV without a house or with one is a NO-NO in the county. You need to have such a vehicle in a properly zoned RV park. I don’t think building permits are as high as quoted. The bulk is in the impact fees. Unless you have a major portion as designated wet land you’re safe to build anywhere but as the wet land percentage increases you can still build but they get on you butt about where and how much fill you need and on and on. It’s best not to have too much wet land. They have a wetlands designation team at the county.

      • Lynn Says:

        Hi Nina, to answer your question, I’m a licensed realtor in Lee county, so I have the ability to go into the system and do search for available properties on the market real-time anywhere in the state of Florida or US. If I have questions on any listings I contact the listing agent directly. You can call any realtor and ask them to help you to give a list of properties available out there w/o any obligations. Collier is not my area of expertise and I’m willing to learn, sometimes if I don’t get my answers I go straight to the county and ask, that’s how you learn right? lol I have the advantage on that note but I am no means a millionaire, so I’m just like everybody else who are looking for something affordable, want to know as much up front before commiting to anything and make a smart decision for what we are looking to do and that’s what I do for all my clients too. I think sometimes I’m not an excellent agent bcoz I will inform & disclose my clients everything they need to know upfront, direct them to the right ppl to find out info and that will give them a lot to think about and that might “scare” them lol. I want to make sure they’re not making any mistakes, that’s all.

        NaplesGuyToo is correct, you cannot have an RV or mobilehome on your property in GGE bcoz the land use is for Single Family Resident only. If a property’s land use says SFR,MH then you can have either a house or mobilehome on it. To be honest it’s very hard to find a propety in Collier that allows MH, maybe further east of Immokalee Rd….

        In regards to the permit costs, I gave you the actual $$ and that’s real….I checked. Impact fees and bldg permits used to be much higher and it came down a bit now, believe it or not….I’m surprised myself. Anywho Nina, I viewed a property very close to Picayune State Forest, the street is only paved half way unfortunately, it’s a 5 acre for $60k and seller will consider splitting it into a (2) 2.5 acre parcel, I don’t know the wetland part bcoz there are no inspection done on it, I have to do that if I want to. It didn’t quite made into my favorite list but who knows…..

        There are a lot to learn but it’s better to do the homework now and I’m ok with that. Hence the reason I joined this group, to learn from others. Keep on rolling and looking around….:)

      • NaplesGuyToo Says:

        Just to clarify. You can certainly have and park your RV of any kind on your property – as long as you have a house to live in. :-)

      • nina Says:

        ahg??? Seriously? why cant I live in an RV on my own land? it make no sense. sound more like government trying ripping people off with high permit cost and impact fees ,maybe collier county is not the place for us after all….where I come from, they are no fees for building and you can do what ever you want on your property as long as you do not hurt any one else, once construction is over if you want you take it to the coral palace and inform them so they can add the improvements to the value of the land and tax accordingly, and only the super rich people on the island pay taxes, my mom live in my grandparents home that is over 150 years old and have never paid taxes to any one and each year government give her money to take care of repairs and keep it looking good since it is one of the oldest constructions on the island and a historic monument.

      • nina Says:

        Thanks Lynn and NaplesGuyToo for the clarification

      • NaplesGuyToo Says:

        The US is still the one place the world is trying to come to. I haven’t seen any police lately but I agree there are problems. The system needs an occasional kick in the ass to straighten out again but in the end we always muddle through. If we could only educate our children better and make school affordable for all, it would already be a better country. As it is we are heavily in the pockets of all kinds of special interests that do not include the people.

      • Dennis Gelinas Says:

        It’s kind of a paradox, Naplestoo, people in developing nations want to get into the US, while people in the US have had it with the Gov for the rich and the wealth disparity.

  66. lookinforawarmplace Says:

    ugh.. talk about making it tough to decide if a trip to look at property is a good idea or not. i’m looking to dodge the permit redtape and build a small half off grid type place. is this possible here? i was looking online at property by route 75. any thoughts on that area?

    • nina Says:

      I think it is possible, I spoke to a lady from the zoning department this week and she mention that some one was basically operating an illegal RV park at GG for 5 years and they just found out now lol

  67. ray Says:

    theres alot of good spots in that area.

  68. ray Says:

    i once talked to a woman in gov she hasa map of unrestricted land .

    • nina Says:

      Hi Ray, any ides where to find this map? we seek to be self sustainable off the grid and all natural :-)

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      GGE was a big attraction for me when I operated a business in Naples. I love fishing, low population density and no interference from Gov. I would have moved there if the US wasn’t teetering on economic collapse and fast becoming a police state. Instead I opted for Belize 10 years ago, sill here. Only 350,000 people in the entire country, English speaking, minimal Gov interference. I have dual citizenship now. Everything I was looking for in FLA and more. If anyone is interested and is not scared to leave, there are many online expat sites.

      • nina Says:

        Dennis, we went to Belize in search of land a few months ago, visited from San Pedro to placencia to belmopan, belice city spanish luck out etc and the prices for land are way more than in the Florida, example Sactuary Belize was asking for 1 aces lots over 150.000 and there is even more rural than GG, with no services, roads are very bad and the ones that are paved are full of speed bumps. VERY low population density yes, and they all speak English, very laid back. where about did you find your peace of paradise? we are still open to Belize, Costa Rica, Colombia just have not found anything yet…

      • Dennis Gelinas Says:

        This page will not let me reply in the right place?
        Funny Nina, I lived in Costa Rica and Colombia.
        I bought the whole side of a mountain with riverfront in mountains outside Cali,Colombia for $600 US. But that was in 1971!
        All the Belize places you mention are tourist traps.
        San Pedro is by far the most expensive and developed, might as well stay in Miami except for it is 1/4 mile to the world’s 2cd biggest barrier reef.
        Sanctuary Bay is a gringo scam, you need to guy from a local, inland away from the beach and reef is far cheaper.
        $1,000 an acre land can be found.
        Spanish Lookout is the most rural you mentioned, but it’s all Mennonites.
        You were in the right neighborhood there.
        San Ignacio just west is in the mountainous part, very rural and very cheap land.
        Google land in Cayo Belize, lots of cheap stuff.
        Cayo is a district bordering Guatemala, lots of waterfalls, caves, Mayan ruins.
        I am on Caye Caulker, not cheap but it’s all relative.
        I unloaded 5 properties in Naples area in 2005, beat the 2008 collapse.
        My lot is small, but on the Caribbean turquoise sea, 1 mile to the reef.
        I am selling it along with plans and permit for 12 unit, 4 story condo complex on sea.
        Paid 60K in 2006 just for the lot, it’s probably worth 4-6 times that now.
        The remnants of the middle class are fleeing the US.
        Belize has gotten very popular, 2 hour flight from Miami or Houston.
        English speaking, warm sunny beaches, mountains inland.
        I have dual citizenship, just put your time in country and they give it to you.

    • nina Says:

      Wow Dennis I was not even born when you got your place in Colombia lol, it was the beginning of the cartels…I did started off very young and had a successful fishing company in cartagena by the time I was 19 and had to abandon it in 2002 due to the wars and kidnapping treats I would get all the time, been back there a few times this year and it seem to be much better now and with the crash of the pesos one could live at large with very little US dollars.
      we also visited san ignacio when deep in to the mountains off miles of gravel road and sleep with the sound of the monkeys in the distance (priceless).
      I was told that the island you are on has no cars and it is very nice, but my gringo husband wanted to go to Isla Bonita instead and see what madona was singing about lol
      Belize has also very good intensive for one to move there and start a business or just retire and the interest rate of a savings accounts there is 5% compare to 0.1% that we get in the US banks lol
      you are selling??? so where will be your next adventure?
      We will go back to Belize next year and search more locally, the advantage I have is that I speak Spanish as well as the creole the people on the cost speak, they all thought I was from Belize because of my accent, so I may go alone and search for land there, they have no licensing for real estate and any one can sell land and no building permits for locals just for Americans, found that very funny…

      • Dennis Gelinas Says:

        New adventure will be something here in Belize more modest Nina.
        This project needs an investor with deeper pockets, it will cost about 1.8 million UDS to complete. 2 years to finish then 3 more to sell all units, double the investment in 5 years.
        Enough about that, didn’t come on here to sell anything, I just help a lot of people looking to get out of the US.
        There are online forums devoted to this, several facebook Expat groups seem to be the best, FB is very user friendly.
        I speak Spanish myself, where are you from?

      • Dennis Gelinas Says:

        BTW Nina,
        Banks here are giving 2% on savings, hasn’t been 5% for a few years.
        Yes, the Cali Cartel preceded the Medellin, I hear they are in control again.
        I backpacked all over that country before buying in Cali, did Caribbean coast, Baranquilla, Cartajena, Santa Marta first.
        Fishing? Girl after my own heart.
        Selling land is tricky, no you don’t need a license but if you’re not a realtor or connected well, you may wait a long time for title.
        A little Mordita works, sure you know about that if you are Latin!

      • nina Says:

        lol I am not Latina but I do know what mordida is, I am very good at getting things done faster but I call it gratitude gifts, I was born on a little island in the Caribbean by the name of Santa Catalina, we have no cars or any source of contamination, most of the islanders are my family and we grow our own food collect rain water and go fishing, no need of government from the main island telling us what to do, we do not have any police and never had we ever had a murder of some one steeling or committing any crime, if some one house get a bit damage during hurricane season, the whole island get together and fix the damaged houses and if you go for a walk you can leave all windows and doors open.
        yes 2% is standard if you have 50K or less anything above that you get to negotiate and can get up to 6%

      • nina Says:

        It is very hard for me to live in the US, Europe or even Africa where I spent 4 years, I come from a land where people are really FREE, self sustainable and compassionate to each other, no one is poisoning your food or water, back home there is no real estate agent because no one buy or sell land, your family give it to you or if you want you can go up the mountain or around the island and claim a piece of land, Americans call it squating lol build your home and grow your food, you do not have to purchase land, Humans are the only species that pay to live on earth, pay for water and food as well as taxes to government, when I took my husband home with me for the first time and went around the island on the boat and said to him, pick, where would you like us to build a cabin, we are squating he thought I was joking, when he realize I was serious he stated lecturing me about all the fines and consequences, it was best if we paid for the land, it took him a while to accept the way we live on the island…all I do is claim my birth rights to live on the land and evolve along with mother earth. It would be nice to have a Florida base this is why seeking to purchase land in SW Florida but I am not sure I can surrender to all the codes and nascence fees…any how, I will do more research and see how far I can compromise with out going against my birth rights.
        a little video of my home

      • Dennis Gelinas Says:

        Hola Nina,
        Was looking at your island on google earth, wow!
        It’s even smaller than mine and perched 150 miles off the mainland.
        Fortunately is is not anywhere near as flat! way out there, a little altitude provides storm protection.
        This is truly a remote little paradise.
        I love the fact that the locals still make the rules concerning real estate.
        If I were born here I would be concerned with protecting that heritage.
        I would love to see it some day, pictures look nice.
        I spent a lot of my life in Florida, couldn’t wait to get away from the evermore complicated and less free US.
        You guys are apparently looking for a more accessible base of operations.
        The grass is always greener eh, good luck!

      • nina Says:

        Hola Dennis, Yes very remote paradise, not a lot of people know about it, not develop just a few houses off the south side all connected by a walking path, no cars maybe a few bikes, no jobs or hotels, just one casa nativa that allow 4 visitors at any given time. Locals are very protective, how do you think it has remain so undeveloped for all these years? Immigration laws are worse than in the US, my husband even he is legally married to me can only visit for as long as 3 months each year. Let me know when you wish to visit, I can give you details of what to do and how to get great prices in accommodation.
        I have a gypsy soul and seek new adventures all the time, I left the island when i was 16 moved to Colombia and been living all over the world since, in my case the grass is greener at home, but I can not be there for long because there is no internet and my husband work for a silicone valley company and need to be on line all day. The grass been greener at home is what make it VERY difficult for me to find other home in Florida, when you come from paradise anything else does not meet the standard of living one is use to lol

      • Dennis Gelinas Says:

        Thanks! Drop me an email so I can contact you.
        Love t go there, keep in touch amiga! Dennis

      • Dennis Gelinas Says:

        BTW, Nina,
        I once changed planes there, on San Andreas.
        Back in the early 70’s there was no Avianca!
        I flew from Miami to Mainland Colombia and back on a prop jobs, courtesy of Aerocondor.

  70. ed it Says:

    The place has turned into one big gun range. Loud shooting at any time, which makes the dogs bark. The creepy zombies run into the empty lots or along the canals, then shoot at anything that moves. Then they boggie back into their houses. You can’t breathe, because the county lets you open burn anything. The batural clean air is rated at 96%, but with the bon fires raging, it’s like being in a poker room and inhaling twenty packs of cigarettes. There are a few trash yards mixed in with decent yards and houses. Too few inspectors, or inspecting for the wrong weeds.

    • Audrey Says:

      A total exaggeration. We can shoot guns in our yards, yes, but few do. No zombies. Fires are rare, open burns are rare. There are some civilized areas, some less restricted, choose accordingly.

    • Naplesguy Says:

      Come on it’s not the Wild West out.People shoot guns sure your allowed to on your land but you don’t do it irresponsibly or unlawfully.I haven’t seen many zombies although that would be exciting out here since it’s very uneventful and slow.My street is pretty decent and ownership pride is evident,most folks clean their yards and lawns are tidy,sure you have occasional renters that live like Sanford and son but they don’t last and move on. Also, as prices go up the trash will leave and decent people will replace them.Ive seen an improvement although very slow.Jobs are still scarce and driving to work is an ordeal.Retired people and self employed people love it here.Publix is coming finally after 7 years and then we will be on he map,out of the third world.

  71. Naplesguy Says:

    Well,after the economic crash of 2007 we have made a strong recovery.Foreclosures are way down and prices have almost doubled since the crash.Publix is back on tract and just announced they will build on the corner of Randall blvd and immokalee rd.Once this is punched in then everything else will follow.Now people are worried about an explosion of growth but I don’t see that for a few more years.Now is the time to buy because soon nothing will be here for under 300k unless it’s a shit shack,tear down or frame home.

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  76. nina Says:

    I visited GGE yesterday for the first time and I loved it, a bit of traffic at rush hour but it did not lost long, it remind me of the jungle in Costa Rica or the Amazon rain forest in Peru, the vegetation I saw And reading NaplesGuyToo post gave me hope I will be able to grow food and botanical garden.
    seeking to purchase 5 acres or more ASAP if any one has available land to sell please let us know :-)
    thanks to all of you that shared so much information, we really appetite it.
    we bought a travel trailer and moved from Silicon Valley Aug 2014 in search or land to purchase and build a magical retreat, since we work remotely location could be anyplace however Florida rural area is too redneck for my nerd husband and the coastal areas that are hip and modern are way to expensive and not large lots and yesterday we finally discover the perfect location and middle grown that fits our worlds.
    so exited and looking forward to be part of the community and contribute in making it an ever better place to live.

    • Fred Says:

      It looks like a match. I went searching for the same thing. Now I have 1000 orchids. :-)

      • Nina Says:

        1000 wow that is amazing, we saw a house off 30th ave and one off 38 th ave with incredible garden designs and lots of orchids, I wonder if one of these were yours? lots of colorful plants seem to grow there naturally, after over a year of traveling and living all over Florida I think I finally found a place to call home :-)

      • Fred Says:

        No, mine are mostly in a greenhouse but there are lots of other plants all over the place. I’m on 5th NW

  77. Nina Says:

    sorry to bother but what is the usage of the canals? Can we use kayaks? Boats? Or they are just there to view?

    • Dennis Gelinas Says:

      The canals were built to drain the low-lying land, G.G.Estates is after all the Everglades. Kayaks and boats no problem at east 10 years ago when I lived there.

      • Fred Says:

        No problem boating or fishing the canals. They are everywhere for drainage purposes.

    • Audrey Says:

      The canals will take you out to the gulf, but you’d have to portage around the weirs. Check Google maps for details.

  78. NaplesGuyToo Says:

    It’s tough to follow these discussions but I agree with rules about not living on your lot like a vagabond in a recreational vehicle or tent for that matter. There are sanitary reasons and we all have neighbors.

    Once you have a house with all the proper living conditions, you can do as you wish with your property and park what you want but except for the occasional sleepover you shouldn’t make your RV a permanent home. They have trailer parks for that.

    • Lynn Says:

      Lol:) I 100% agree with both of your comments/reply. I’m just happy that I found this forum and be able to communicate as a consumer. Thank you.

  79. NaplesGuyToo Says:

    I couple years ago company came from Belize simply because they admired my garden here in the Estates. They wanted to do something similar and see for themselves what can be done. I have hosted many garden tours but never from a tropical country. Anyway, I have an open invitation to go visit them. I found out that my friends have thousands of acres in Belize and employ some 80 people to run the place. We had just returned from a 4 week trip to Costa Rica and basically came back with the conclusion that we have all that except for the howler monkeys. My wife keeps saying ”why go to Belize if we have all that right here at home?” No mountains of course but we’ve seen enough of those here in the states too. Caves Branch Adventure Co. & Jungle Lodge
    Mile 41 1/2 Hummingbird Hwy., P.O. Box 356. Belmopan, Belize, Central America is Ian Anderson and Ella Barone. They’ve now established a relationship with Selby Gardens in Sarasota as botanical science is an unknown quantity in Belize and they are starting to catalog what exists in the wild that none of the local could care less about when they fell or burn another forest. I give them credit for trying to save the environment as individuals just like the government of Costa Rica does in that country. Anyway, I’m very happy and content here in my little 7.5 acre paradise in the Estates.

    • Dennis Gelinas Says:

      Hi NaplesToo,
      Very familiar with Ian’s Caves Branch operation, been there with my best Belizean friend.
      He runs arguably the premiere tour company in Belize.
      High profile camera shoots and celebrities come to him.
      National Geographic, Man in the Wilderness, Bill Gates.
      I liked GGE very much, spent every weekend there for 10 years.
      I confess I’m a little chilly there on winter nights and mornings, spoiled.
      My main problem is with the US as a fit place to plan a the rest of my life.
      There is an exodus, thousands of remnants of middle-class people looking to get out, coming here.
      It has increasingly and alarmingly become a police state.
      I do not recognize he country I grew up in.

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