MARCO ISLAND — Marco Island City Council members rejected a county-sponsored beachfront easement proposal and decided to keep island-wide watering guidelines in place.
In April, councilors asked members of the water and sewer department to create an alternative watering and irrigation schedule after it was discovered that the a variance request for irrigation schedules was inconsistent with South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) rules. The concern was that the existing two-day schedule, divided by odd and even addresses, could potentially allows all users on their given day to irrigate at the same time resulting in higher electrical demand charges and possibly low pressure issues in the system.
The department presented council members with two separate irrigation proposals. Both schedules segregate residences by either odd or even addresses, but put use a two-to-four hour watering interval spread over eight hours, or a three-to-four hour interval over a 12 hour period.
Jeff Poteet, acting general manager, told councilors that both proposals would even out demand on the water and sewer system, and theoretically, a three-to-four hour watering time could save the city approximately $400 per month by reducing the electrical demand on the system.
Under one of the suggested plans, odd numbered homes could water or irrigate three days a week, but timing would be restricted depending on homeowners address. For instance, property owners whose house number ended in “1” would water Monday, Wednesday and Saturday between 12:01 a.m. and 4 a.m. Other property owners’ water schedule would take place between 4:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. with the final group allowed to irrigate between 8 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
After looking at the suggested changes, Councilman Frank Recker questioned whether the schedules were the simplest for residents to understand.
“The savings are not worth it,” added councilor Larry Magel.
In the end, council agreed to keep the existing two-day, 12:01 a.m. to 8 a.m. watering schedule.
Following the example of the City of Naples, Marco Island council members have rejected a proposal requiring beachfront easements for future beach re-nourishment projects. Collier County commissioners sought input from Naples, Marco Island and the county’s Tourism Development Committee (TDC) in an effort to guarantee public beach access in exchange for private property re-nourishment. The proposal stems from property owners in Naples who have refused to allow access for beach improvements. The concern, according to county coastal zoning manager, Gary McAlpin, is that erosion control lines on private property could become unstable, putting the entire beachfront at risk of erosion.
If approved, the easement could have cost the county as much at $150,000.
McAlpin noted that if councilors approved the proposal, it would not require private beaches to become public, and the request would not affect Hideaway Beach, which pays for its own beach restoration through a special taxing district. He added that Marco Island has not previously had an issue with property owners rejecting access to workers charged with beach re-nourishment.
“It seems like a lot of bureaucracy and for what purpose?” questioned Councilman Larry Magel.
Officials with the City of Naples and the TDC expressed similar concerns, which was a factor in Marco council members nixing the proposal.