760 North Collier Blvd, Marco
Summit Management Group, which manages events at the Esplanade, was given a clear and unanimous nod of approval from the Planning Board to extend the number of events they may hold each year from 28 to 56.
The Planning Board’s support is ceremonious in nature, having no bearing on the result of the Esplanade’s request for 56 outdoor events each year.
Business owners at the Esplanade hope they get a similar but binding response when their request goes before City Council, tentatively scheduled for the August meeting.
“This wasn’t required to be reviewed by the planning board but we thought it would be beneficial,” said Community Development Director Steve Olmsted.
Olmsted said the process would allow representatives of the Esplanade an opportunity to gather the answers to the questions City Council will likely ask them.
Summit Management Group is limited by a special events development agreement which includes restrictions to outside sound and amplified music as well as a land development code which limits events each year to 28, Olmsted said.
The Esplanade’s events include Octoberfest, Taste of Marco, art shows and live music on Thursday evenings.
Food and beverage is not allowed to be served past 9:30 p.m. and the Esplanade must close completely by 10 p.m. even during special events.
“We’re getting close to our 28 and we just wanted to hear people’s opinions,” said Jacquie Koon a tenant of one of the condominiums above the Esplanade as well as an owner of Bayview and Star Bar at the Esplanade.
Resident Fay Biles encouraged the board to show approval for the request. She said she frequently showed visitors to the island the Esplanade as the island’s cultural and business center.
“I’m very much in favor in this. I think they need more,” Biles said.
Board member Monte Lazarus immediately agreed.
“This would be a nice center piece for the island,” Lazarus said.
Olmsted said only one individual may “want to ensure events do not exceed 28.” Mike Willms of Smokehouse Bay is the only person who has asked about keeping the number of events limited, but those inquiries came several months ago with the last received in March, Olmsted said.
Olmsted added that although it is not required, he plans to inform all residents within 300 feet of the Esplanade of the pending request for 56 events each year.
No complaints of noise have been made from residents within the Esplanade, he said.
Planning board member Irv Povlow who lives near the Esplanade said he has heard music coming from the Star Bar but does not find it a nuisance.
“I just crank mine and hope it doesn’t bother you,” he said to representatives of the Esplanade present at Friday’s meeting.
Povlow was initially going to abstain from sharing his opinion because he lived close to the Esplanade but since the vote was non-binding and more of a show of support, he created a unanimous 6-0 voice for the board.
“I think it’s great for the community. I respect the rights of the neighbors across the way. As long as we can work that out,” said board member Bill Sneddon.