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FCI Homes Marco Island, Fl
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COLLIER COUNTY - A decision by Collier County Commissioners could mean an uptick in development in coming months.

The Board of Collier County Commissioners on Tuesday voted 4-1 to decrease transportation impact fees by 32 percent. The change goes into effect on Oct. 8.

That decrease means someone building a single family home with less than 1,500 square feet will pay $5,137 if they apply for a permit after Oct. 8, compared to $7,652 if the same person applies for a permit prior to that date.

The savings will also be found in the commercial sector. Someone developing no more than 50,000 square feet of office space will pay $11,286 per 1,000 square feet toward transportation impact fees following Oct. 8. Impact fees on that same space are currently $16,763 per 1,000 square foot.

County officials anticipate the decrease will grow by 10 percent — bringing the total impact fee reduction to 42 percent — by early next year when commissioners approve changes to utility impact fees and rates.

Commissioner Donna Fiala, who supported immediately decreasing the rate by 42 percent, cast the dissenting vote. A 42-percent reduction would mean the impact fees on a single family home smaller than 1,500 square feet would be $4,510 per unit; while impact fees on an office building no larger than 50,000 square feet would be $9,905 per 1,000 square feet.

Nick Casalanguida, the county's growth administrator, said growth management staffers saw the need for an impact fee reduction during an update to the county's fee schedule.

The county will achieve a 42-percent decrease to transportation impact fees by removing utility fees from the fee schedule. Instead, the fees will be paid through a separate utility impact fee or through utility rates.

That decision will mean only those developments that use county utilities would have to pay a utility impact fee. The current fee structure tacks on the utility fee to all transportation impact fees, regardless of where the development is located.

Nearly a dozen people spoke in support of decreasing transportation impact fees, however many of them said they supported a 50 percent decrease.

That percentage was proposed by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, and in a Sept. 18 letter to commissioners from Michael Reagen, the chamber's president, which said the decrease could "have significant impact on economic recovery."

Thomas Lykos, the president of The Lykos Group, a Naples-based remodeling company, was among those community members who supported the lower impact fees. While Lykos said Tuesday he supported the chamber's proposal, he said any move to lower fees would help bolster the economy.

"I've been fortunate to survive the economic downturn, but many business owners are holding on, looking for a sign," he said. "I ask you to reduce impact fees by 50 percent (the chamber's proposal) not only to stimulate the economy, but to show residents you recognize our plight and will do whatever it takes."

Bill Spinelli, a local developer who also supported the chamber's proposal, said he believed the decrease would "promote job creation."

While community members said a fee decrease would promote building, commission Chairman Fred Coyle said decreasing the impact fee rate more than what county officials proposed was not the answer.

"There's no building because you can't sell it," he said.

Though the decrease may mean good news for Collier County builders, it means less money in Collier County's coffers.

Impact fees are expected to bring in $67.5 million in revenues in the next five years, according to a Sept. 19 report by Casalanguida. The decision to ultimately reduce transportation impact fees by 42 percent means the projected revenue will see a $28.35 million reduction.

Impact fees are one-time charges on new construction sites that help pay for roads and other community needs, such as parks and schools.

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Lots on Marco Island are being bought at record levels with just over 350 lots on the MLS it could be now or never.

Marjie Kepp Pyle has a complete Inventory list of lots

Call Marjie today at FCI Homes Marco Island 

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Finish finesse

Bronze goes equally well with traditional and contemporary décor and can be particularly effective for a cabin style or other rustic look, or as a neutral for traditional-style baths. Bronze itself can come in a variety of shades, from Kohler’s lighter, rich Brushed Bronze, to the more recent introduction of dark-accented Oil-Rubbed Bronze.

Gold faucets can add a luxurious accent to your bathroom. The rich look of Vibrant® Moderne Gold, available in both polished and brushed versions, offers a rich yet warm accent to white fixtures. Vibrant® French Gold goes well with period styles and complements decorated sinks with gold accents. And Vibrant® Polished Brass provides an elegant note to traditional-style baths.

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Heavy metal by Kohler

Metal faucet choices now available include a variety of silver-tone finishes, as well as gold, bronze, mixed metals and brushed and hammered options. Solid brass electroplated with chromium – more commonly referred to simply as chrome – became the standard for faucets in the 1930s and remains one of the most popular looks today.

Polished chrome is a classic that coordinates beautifully with a wide variety of fixture styles and types of décor. It can evoke a nostalgic look, as in a 1920s- or other vintage-style bath, but it can also complement contemporary styles beautifully.

Nickel has come back into style and is popular in many forms. Shiny like chrome, Vibrant® Polished Nickel is a favorite of Portland, OR, designer Sandy Hayes. "Polished nickel is a really sophisticated look that goes well with elegant furniture," she says.

Brushed nickel has a warm, soft appearance that looks classic against white and coordinates well with granite or slate countertops and backsplashes. And hammered nickel coordinates well with certain period styles. This finish, similar in color to brushed nickel, has a rough, hand-hewn feel that works particularly well with Craftsman or Mission styles.

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When it comes to choosing a faucet, installation type is a matter of logistics and the number of handles is a question of function. But the finish you choose is all about the look. With more options than ever, your choice of finish can best reflect your personal style and help you realize your bathroom design vision.

Durability is a key factor in your choice. Nickel fell out of favor in the first half of the 20th century because it wasn’t considered a durable material. Now most types of finishes – including nickel -- are extremely durable due to a coating process called PVD (physical vapor deposition).

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Wood Floors in Florida?  Now that’s an Interesting Option

Ok, tile floors are hard I mean really hard especially when your joints are not as fresh as they were 5 years ago when I was a teenager (I might be off a few years but who’s counting). The contractor brought to my attention that wood floors are another flooring option besides tile. My first thought was wood floors in Florida? yeah right. But, I do have wood floors in my current home and you know they are pretty comfortable to walk and stand on but they do scratch up pretty easily and DON’T get them near any water.  So I will consider this option but of course I need to do some research.

So what would be the pros vs. cons of installing wood floors in Florida? and what type of wood floor is best for a home in Florida?

Solid hardwood floors are not an option for this project because the current floor is concrete.  Solid hardwood floors are secured by nails, which are hammered into a subfloor which is usually plywood. Solid hardwood floors are also affected by humidity, which can cause expansion or rotting of the wood, not a good thing in Florida.  Dragging furniture or other items across the floor can damage the finish (sand from the beach) and direct sunlight can cause wood floors to fade.

Engineered Wood Floors are made of multiple wood layers (usually five to seven) pressed together and provide greater resistance to such elements as humidity and moisture. Engineered hardwood is connected by glue, staples or nails to wood subfloors or concrete slabs.

Acrylic-impregnated wood floors feature hardwood that has an acrylic material pumped into the wood’s pores to make the wood extremely hard and more resistant to scratching and moisture.

Laminate floors are made of resin, wood fiber and paper pressed together under extreme pressure and “float” on top of the subfloor. Laminate flooring comes in three varieties based on how they are installed. One type is installed with a special glue applied to the tongue and groove of a plank. Another type features planks that snap into place, locking together, and require no glue. The third type features planks glued at the factory. Laminate floors offer some key benefits. They are durable, protect against scratching and are more versatile because the flooring can be applied over most surfaces. Laminate is easy to install, and the damage from moisture, humidity and sunlight is less than it is on hardwood. Laminate floors also do not require polishing or waxing.

Laminate, though, has some drawbacks. It produces more noise when people walk across it, and the planks are difficult to repair.

Which Is Best?

When it comes to choosing wood flooring in Florida, environment is the No. 1 issue. Floors are affected by gritty sand, plentiful sunlight and lots of moisture and humidity. In addition, sunlight fades the deep, rich colors of hardwood floors, and sand tracked inside scratches the finish on them. Many homes also have swimming pools, bringing more moisture inside.

It is Florida’s elevation, though, that causes the most concern. The Floor Facts website recommends not installing true hardwood floors in below-grade areas that are susceptible to flooding. Because most of Florida is flat and near sea level, it falls within that category. The state’s tropical weather brings massive amounts of rain, which can cause mold and damage wood floors even when it is not in direct contact with the wood.

Given such drawbacks, most Floridians opt for laminate flooring. It is less susceptible to damage from moisture, humidity, sand and sunlight. Some homeowners, though, still prefer hardwood. If that is the case, opt for an acrylic-impregnated wood or another type of engineered hardwood floor. 

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Marble Counter Tops

Marble Countertop PROS
• Beauty - Classic, timeless beauty, and a white brightness not available in granite or soapstone. 
• Cool Temperature - Marble is wonderful for working with pastry, since it is naturally cool; it doesn't conduct heat very well. 
• Cost - While some rarer types of marble are very expensive, the more common Carrara (also called Carrera) marble is one of the least expensive natural countertops. 
• Widely available - Unlike some quartzes and the hard-to-find quartzite, marble is available from nearly any stone fabricator or stone yard.

Marble Countertop CONS
• Scratching - Marble can scratch easily, especially when touched for a long period of time by something acidic. A slice of lemon laid down on a polished countertop overnight can leave a mark in the shape of the lemon slice, duller than the surface around it. 
• Staining - Marble can also stain; red wine and some fruits are infamous for leaving indelible stains on the marble.

My Takeaway So Far: If you are OK with countertops looking a bit scratched up, and developing a patina of use over the years, then marble may be for you. If you want them perfectly glossy all the time, then perhaps not.

Also, I discovered that honed countertops (the more matte, less shiny finish that comes from abrading the stone) can be much more kitchen-friendly.

What do you think? Do you have marble in your kitchen? Love it? Hate it? What tips and advice would you give someone thinking about installing it?

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Granite is the most popular natural stone for kitchen countertops, and there are several thousand named colors. Many stones have several different common names which can add to the difficulty in finding the particular stone you are looking for. As granite is a product of nature there will be variations in appearance between individual slabs, even for stones designated with the same name. But it is the natural uniqueness and hardness of granite that makes it an ideal material for countertops.

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12 Questions you need to ask before you sign a contract

12 Interview Questions:
1. Are you willing to work with my designer during the design process to ensure we are creating a home that meets our budget?
2. What means and methods will you use to determine the exact cost of my home?
3. How are you compensated for your pre-construction services?
4. Are you comfortable building the style and quality of home that we expect?
5. Who will supervise the construction of my home and how often will my project be under direct supervision?
6. May I meet the project manger or project superintendent who will be supervising my project on a daily basis?
7. How will questions and concerns be addressed during construction?
8. How do you qualify the competency of the subcontractors who will work on my project?
9. In the event that there are changes to the design or unforeseen conditions that result in extra cost, what process do you
use to communicate the these changes to the owner and designer?
10. How long do you anticipate the construction of this project will take?
11. How are you compensated for your work?
12. How do you service your warranty once the construction is complete?

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What is the role of a custom home builder?
A good custom home builder is an advocate for the homeowner as well as an integral and collaborative member of the design team.

They work with the homeowner and design to team to help establish a realistic budget for the project and then monitor the cost and scope through the design and construction process.

• The builder will contract with the owner for the construction price on the home and track all cost, submit pay request to the bank and designer for approval, provide lien release waivers for all completed work, and prepare estimates and collect money for approved change orders and owner initiated changes as outlined in the contract.

• Once the designer has filed for and obtained the building permit the builder will be the liaison between the building inspectors, governing jurisdictions, and the design team.

• The builder will be responsible for managing and obtaining all approvals, inspections, and the certificate of occupancy.

• The builder will order, check, and accept all building material and component’s prior to installation.

• Upon completion, the designer will review the project for any deficiencies. The builder will work with the subcontractors to resolve any issues and once this is done, and the city has completed final inspections and issued the certificate of occupancy, the builder will deliver the project to the owner.

• The builder will educate the owner on the operation and maintenance of the house and service the warrantee as required by local jurisdiction.
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