POLL: Marco eyes public art requirement on non-residential construction

New developments and large-scale improvements may come with a new fee

Should developers pay the government for public art?

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Chairwoman of the Arts Advisory Committee, Claudia Klug-Kowel, awaits City Council's directive Tuesday night on a proposed ordinance that was years in the making to require fees to go toward placing art in public places. The fees would be required on new construction and large renovations on commercial and government projects.

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff

Chairwoman of the Arts Advisory Committee, Claudia Klug-Kowel, awaits City Council's directive Tuesday night on a proposed ordinance that was years in the making to require fees to go toward placing art in public places. The fees would be required on new construction and large renovations on commercial and government projects.

— It’s not a tax and it’s not an impact fee, assured proponents of a new requirement for developers to pay for public art on Marco Island.

Not all council members agreed, but in a narrow majority vote (4-3) of City Council members Tuesday night, the city is moving forward with an ordinance to require non-residential developers to pay for art that will be visible to the public, as well as a resolution to set the new art fee at $1 per square foot. The city would also pay the fee for their development and improvement projects, as would all other non-residential owners expanding or improving their property by 50 percent or more of its assessed value.

“I don’t think this is one of the worst things we’ve done to the people... I think it would enhance the community and it would cost the average taxpayer nothing,” said Councilman Ted Forcht.

Representing the minority of the seven council members, Councilmen Jerry Gibson, Frank Recker and Rob Popoff disagreed.

“I don’t agree with government mandating that we should have the arts,” Gibson said. “To me this is an impact fee for public art and I don’t think public art should fall under impact fees.”

Chairwoman of the Arts Advisory Committee, Claudia Klug-Kowel, said the committee has worked on the ordinance for several years. The Planning Board also reviewed the ordinance and supported it (5-2).

Keith Dameron of the Arts Advisory Committee, also Vice President of IberiaBank on Marco Island, spoke in support of the ordinance on Tuesday.

“Sometimes it takes a lot of guts to support the arts, to financially support the arts,” Dameron said.

“Investment in the arts can pay big dividends” in terms of increased tourism, business and culture on the Island, he added.

Only one Marco resident spoke in opposition to the ordinance and that was city watchdog Amadeo Petricca.

“I think this is a government intrusion again on the private citizen... This is where the government should stay the hell out of it... It’s just ludicrous as far as I’m concerned. Let the businesses run their own businesses,” Petricca said.

The ordinance will come before council again for a first reading and then a second reading before it becomes law.

As drafted, the ordinance mirrors regulations approved by the City of Naples in 2006, and would require a fee of $1 per square foot for non-residential construction if the building is smaller than 5,000 square feet. If the building is larger than 5,000 square feet, the equivalent amount of money could be spent on art to be incorporated in the development project or a combination of art and money.

Other key aspects of the ordinance include:

n Public art will be placed outdoors in a place easily accessible or visible to the general public

n Art will not include a play structure or landscape design and will be suggested by the developer then approved by the Arts Advisory Committee and then City Council. The arts committee and council will also approve any future removal or change in the art.

n Art must be created by a documented artist and it must be compatible with existing structures on the site and in the neighborhood, as well as compatible with “social dynamics, local character and surrounding urban context of the site,” per the current draft.

n The city will hold title to all art purchased through the payment of fees or donations; will be held harmless if art is vandalized, damaged or stolen; will be unlimited in their license to reproduce the art work and will hold trademark, service mark or trade dress rights of the artwork and third parties will have right to reproduce the work in accordance with laws pertaining to public records.

n Property owners hold title and are responsible for insuring and maintaining the public art on their property in the condition it was approved.

n Mixed use developments will contribute art or money to the fund proportional to their amount of non-residential space.

Popoff suggested an alternative to the ordinance also be presented during the first reading.

He suggested impact fees may make it more palatable for a builder.

“I don’t want this to go away, but I don’t want to approve this as it’s written... I just fundamentally don’t think it’s government’s place... If we took a look at supporting the arts but doing it in a manner... Let’s not penalize the builder,” Popoff added.

He and Gibson wanted art reproductions to be allowed although the current ordinance may prohibit some mass-produced reproductions.

Councilmen Wayne Waldack, Forcht, Chuck Kiester and Bill Trotter supported the ordinance.

“Any way you look at it, adding a $1 (per square foot) is less than 1 percent of the construction cost. I think it’s very reasonable for the benefit we’ll get out of it,” Waldack said.

Recker said he supported the arts, but not the public art ordinance.

“I’m against government mandating a fee for arbitrary things like art, especially in these economic times,” Recker said.

Developers expect to pay such fees and the requirement hasn’t slowed down growth in Naples, Forcht said.

“This one really walks the line in terms of good economy and the bad economy in the state of Florida... Of all the ways we’ve taxed and abused the people... this is one of the best for the community.”

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Comments » 13

mhs513 writes:

Another bad idea by the great City of Marco Island. Why can't the city just tend to city business instead of meddling and imposing on the citizens and businesses of Marco?

ajm3s writes:

I need to join the Tea Party, I am sick of Progressives in government. They come in all shapes and sizes.

You create a committee which recommends a fee imposed on a select group for the benefit of the public. Sounds like redistribution weatlh in the form of art.

I cannot wait for the first graffitti artist to challenge the rejection from the Arts Review Board (or whatever they will call themselves). It will be fun to watch, in fact, it may be avante-garde.

ajm3s writes:

I love the comment: "“Any way you look at it, adding a $1 (per square foot) is less than 1 percent of the construction cost. I think it’s very reasonable for the benefit we’ll get out of it,”

Reasonable? The only growth industry on Marco Island is the increase in vacant residential lots. In 2000 there were less than 1500 vacant house lots, now there are an estimated 2000 vacant lots. Now that is growth!

Lets see, the way I look at it: what is 1% of nothing. Nothing, so maybe I need not complain. Votes by Council do have consequences. Thanks for stiffling non-residential growth, I did want the small town atmosphere.

MrBreeze writes:

I would like to see the amount of personal money that has been spent on public art by the people that supported this. The council members, the art comittee, the public critics.

These people would not spend a dime of their own money for this. Who are they kidding? Typical politicians and cronies looking to make someone else pay.

I say have the backers on council DONATE their pay for council towards "public art" then lets see the support. Lets see the "art commitee" match the funds towards public art.

This was tried in my hometown by the same type of "cronies" to such a big failure. Who again decides what is art? If the developer is forced to pay for art that becomes taxpayer money. Again, who will spend our dollars on what form of art?

How about putting that one dollar fee towards WATER USE so we can get the WATER PLANT and WATER MAINS repaired correctly and LOWER the citizens bills.

But again, lets start fees for more junk that we do not need.

It's so simple even a CAVEDWELLER could figure it out.

ajm3s writes:

Even Cave dwellers had art. Lascaux’s cave paintings were made c.15–18,000 B.C. in France. However, I believe it was not publicly funded.

LOL (lots of laghs)

JRWE5270 writes:

This is sickening. Have you read the ordinance? Art is supposed to be compatible with existing structures on the site and in the neighborhood...and with "social dynamics, local character and surrounding urban context..." What the heck does that even mean? Is the example that hideous Marco Man??? I wish these effetes would keep their hands out of our pockets and finance their own hobby. The idea that developers won't pass this cost along with all their other taxes and impact fees is nonsense. Did you notice that the City will own the art but the property owner has to foot the bill for ongoing maintenance? Just GO AWAY!

RayPray writes:

Hope they are open to something our legions of shiny-legged geezers might applaud, like, say, PIS CHRIST....


sailing writes:

What a crock! "I don't think this is one of the worst things we've done to the people" So Mr Frocht is addmitting they do bad things to the people! what ever happend to "BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE" In this economy with bussinesses shuting down left and right the last thing we need is more b.s. fees! Are you morons trying to run all bussinesses off Marco? I hope nobody flies a plane into Moron city hall!! We the people have had enough!!

sailing writes:

8 of 8 posts and not 1 in favor! Are you listening city council???

MrBreeze writes:

They are listening to their own song not ours.

I have to go decorate my cave, sweep the dirt out.

Do cavedwellers fit the "social dynamic" of Marco Island? Hmmm, I wonder.

I think we should print a "cavedweller" line of clothing.

kazbahone writes:

Is there No end to the growing Government
take over of our lives?
Art Tax on businesses that are hanging on by a thread?
That hideous Blue man outside City Hall
makes me ill. For me, it is NOT art , it is a symbol for our tax money being tossed out the window like trash!
Our Community Bank just failed. You would think that would make the council pull their heads out of the sand and face up to
what is happening to the business and citizens
on this Island and in the United States.
Doesn't any of the Council the Moral fortitude
to stand up and stop this madness!
Note: I was happy I received a reply from
Frank Recker stating he was against this "Art Tax"
One for the people out of how many????

bigdog1970 writes:

Just perfect!
Why do citizens, builders and or developers have to fund the arts program, just to benefit a few.
I want a statue of a Gecco placed in front of an insurance company, a giant Firestone tire on Bald Eagle, a donkey placed in front of City Hall,(or would that be donkeys)and there is more!
WOW!! Thinking this stuff up is so easy a CAVEMAN can do it!
I got a better idea, we should charge a tax to be used to buy trees, so we can replace all the ones being cut down in Mackle Park.

ajm3s writes:

In a nutshell: a fee placed on a select few to be administered by a committe of a select few for the benefit of (all) the public.

Recommendation: The committee should have spent the time to raise awareness and funding in the same manner as the Dog Park advocates. Private fund raising by a select group for the benefit of a select group and minimizing the requirements placed on the public (land set aside). Is there anything wrong with this approach?

By the way I love art and dogs/cats.

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