Marriott's public beach access delay keeps Marco council talking

Island attorney Craig Woodward represents the Marriott and explains the request for a delay in constructing additional units at Marriott Crystal Shores and the permanent public beach access near the property on Collier Boulevard at Monday's City Council meeting.

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff // Buy this photo

Island attorney Craig Woodward represents the Marriott and explains the request for a delay in constructing additional units at Marriott Crystal Shores and the permanent public beach access near the property on Collier Boulevard at Monday's City Council meeting.

Island attorney Craig Woodward represents the Marriott and explains the request for a delay in constructing additional units at Marriott Crystal Shores and the permanent public beach access near the property on Collier Boulevard at Monday's City Council meeting.

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff // Buy this photo

Island attorney Craig Woodward represents the Marriott and explains the request for a delay in constructing additional units at Marriott Crystal Shores and the permanent public beach access near the property on Collier Boulevard at Monday's City Council meeting.

Community Development Director Steve Olmsted works with Island attorney Craig Woodward to come up with a solution for Marriott's Crystal Shores' developers to uphold their agreement with the city to install public beach access while being flexible to their request for extra time due to finances. The discussion delayed the rental ordinance hearing by more than two hours during the Planning Board meeting Friday, February 17. The request went before council Monday, May 18 after being continued from an earlier review.

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff // Buy this photo

Community Development Director Steve Olmsted works with Island attorney Craig Woodward to come up with a solution for Marriott's Crystal Shores' developers to uphold their agreement with the city to install public beach access while being flexible to their request for extra time due to finances. The discussion delayed the rental ordinance hearing by more than two hours during the Planning Board meeting Friday, February 17. The request went before council Monday, May 18 after being continued from an earlier review.

— Marco Island isn’t known for its vast amounts of public beach access. The Marriott is to help with that, although it may be four years before permanent access is open to the public.

City Council approved a request to delay construction of a permanent public beach access near the Marriott Crystal Shores, which is on Collier Boulevard near Winterberry Drive, among several other decisions made Monday evening.

Marriott representatives said they needed to delay constructing remaining time shares at the Crystal Shores due to a decline in sales and overall economic decline. The delay in construction would also require a delay in constructing the beach access on the north side of the property because once the beach access is constructed, cranes needed to build the remaining towers would not have enough room, argued Marriott attorney and Islander Craig Woodward.

Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk said he didn’t support the delay in building the permanent public beach access although he agreed with and expressed appreciation for the Marriott’s concessions in building a temporary beach access, maintaining it and covering the liability insurance for it.

Milk said he believed construction of the time share units could be done after construction of the permanent beach access planned for the north side of the property.

Part of the issue was safety on the planned temporary access on the south side of the property, Milk said.

Councilman Ted Forcht agreed with Milk.

“They’re a big business. I appreciate big business, but I just don’t believe them.”

Chairman Rob Popoff said the Marriott should get some credit for what they have done and some understanding for the economy businesses face along just as the government does.

“It’s not true that they haven’t done anything for us,” he said.

He pointed out that a public restroom near the Stilts restaurant and pool area is open and showers for foot rinsing are available to the public.

Islander Vinnie Grasser of the Marriott said the property managers are looking the other way at parking in their lot, but once construction starts back up, it could lead to a tow away.

City Council approved their request to delay constructing the permanent access until 2015. The temporary access is to be complete and open to beach-goers by mid-August. Construction of the Crystal Shores condo towers will also be delayed with completion expected in 2015, an approximate four year delay to complete the project.

Woodward said the new plan will actually provide beach access sooner because originally the permanent beach access was not required until 2011 and now the temporary access will be open by August.

The required beach access was in exchange for city permits that increased density and height beyond city code restrictions.

The Marriott has secured a $428,000 bond for the future construction of the permanent access.

See related stories for other decisions and discussions at Monday evening's City Council meeting.

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Comments » 5

Fossil writes:

I commend my neighbors willing to perform service to our city. Their personal time on our behalf is appreciated by all of us. Marco Island is blessed with a tremendous pool of talent for our City to draw from. Those who served in the past are to be commended but not asked to do so again and again. That said, citizens appointed to serve their community must be qualified to do the jobs they are volunteering for. At the very least they must show an open inquisitive mind and ability to learn. They should not be suspicious of their neighbors or compelled to speak out against them while serving. Why is it that our Council feels compelled to appoint the same people over and over again? Council, reach out to your neighbors and find some new blood. Find people qulaified and able to do the jobs for a change. Willingness to serve, availablity and desire to be part of YOUR team should not be the only qualifications you look at. Although I commend Tarek and Sal for their willingness to serve us, it's time to give others a chance. Stop being so lazy, do what we elected you to do, appoint capable candidates for a change. Reach out to your neighbors, even those who live across the street or across town. These two have had several bites at the apple, time to share.

happy6 writes:

i seem to remember back when the design was being done for the new marriott facility...the city (moss) granted them several variances in return for beach access....now there will be no beach access for the foreseeable future...how much does it cost to put in a sidewalk and tear it out later...kinda' what the city did when they put in sidewalks across vacant lots...seems to me the city should push for the beach access...bad economy or not...the marriott obviously can afford it.

MrBreeze writes:

My personall opinion is the beech access is limited and will always be as it should. When my wife and I would visit the island for a day or two and stay off the island we would hardly get a space in the public lot. We always had to go to Tigertail beech where there is more parking. Now that we live on the island I am glad that Collier access is the way it is for the reason it is controlled from mobs of people trying to get on the beech. I think that is just the way it is a "pay to play" and that still does not get you anything unless you use a MICA lot which you pay for. I know everone likes the beech but there has to be limits and Marco Island is not large enough to handle every daily visitor when it comes to beech access.

freedame writes:

There WILL be beach access beginning in August. The delay is in the permanent access. It may be helpful if you actually read article Shadow. Besides, it a waste of money and resources to put something in and tear it out later. I do care that my tax dollars are not wasted.

happy6 writes:

hey freedame...pint is...pay for play...we granted all kinds of concessions in return for a permanent each path...and by the way..your tax dollars ain't paying...supposedly marriott is paying...ha ha..

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