MARCO ISLAND — Increasing events at the Esplanade was a popular decision by council Tuesday night, but some wonder whether it will remain music to everyone’s ears come winter.
Marco’s Esplanade may host up to 56 special events with amplified music each year without needing to make anymore requests for them, council decided in a 5-2 vote.
Councilman Bill Trotter wasn’t sure increasing events at the Esplanade was as popular among part-time residents who live in nearby condos during the winter months as it was among the full-time residents present at the council meeting.
He feared the opposition may have plenty to sound off about come December.
“It’s a little unfair because the seasonal residents in the Esplanade condos aren’t here,” Chairman Rob Popoff said, adding that a decision would be made nonetheless.
“My guess is the majority of you here are here to speak in favor of music at the Esplanade,” Popoff said.
The room’s occupants answered back with loud clapping.
City ordinances allow up to 28 special events at the Esplanade each year. In August 2008, council approved 28 more special events, making 56 total for the year.
The decision was met with some opposition over the past few months as several nearby Smokehouse Bay residents, such as Ron Postmas, have said in addition to the music itself, noise from crowds carries loudly over the bay and into their homes. Postmas has also said that live music every Thursday night shouldn’t qualify as a “special” event.
Popoff said he thought the complaints were decreasing.
“If they can afford a condo down here, have them come down for this (meeting),” said H.R. Kanaan, who lives at the Esplanade half of the year and said he flew down from New Hampshire to voice his opinion.
Councilman Jerry Gibson added that decibel readings are down and below the city’s noise ordinance limits.
He said he was stunned that three hours of music once each week could cause such a stir.
Vice Chairman Frank Recker compared the problem to being annoyed when his dog makes licking noises-- it’s not illegal and he can’t get rid of his dog for it, but it’s a nuisance.
Popoff said that CJ’s on the Bay, located in the Esplanade, has made improvements, such as installing sound barriers around the speakers.
Trotter suggested a six month permit until the people who are most affected living nearby return for the winter.
Both he and Kiester, who said it was a tough decision between supporting the residents and supporting the businesses, opposed the proposal.
Year round residents don’t have much to do without the Esplanade, residents and councilors agreed.
“We used to go to Fifth Avenue (Naples.) Now we don’t have to,” resident Pat Holmes said.
V.I.P. Grover of V.I.P. Insurance on Island said the Esplanade business is good for his business.
“All of this trickles down. Everyone benefits from what they’re doing. As long as there are no code violations going on, stopping these events, stopping people from having fun, seems at best pointless and at worst criminal... Council has better things to do than go over this every six months,” Grover said.