Marco Island City Council approves two mini-golf courses on first reading

Petitioner Ron Smith strands with his family as he requests approval from Marco Island City Council Monday on first reading for a miniature golf course on Park Avenue next to Veterans' Community Park. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Petitioner Ron Smith strands with his family as he requests approval from Marco Island City Council Monday on first reading for a miniature golf course on Park Avenue next to Veterans' Community Park. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— If two miniature golf courses pass second reading, residents will not need to drive to East Naples to play putt-putt golf.

On Monday, Marco Island City Council heard first readings on two mini-golf concessions to be constructed in commercially approved zones. The first will be the creation of Ron Smith and family at 902 Park Avenue, adjacent to Veterans’ Community Park. Smith made his petition before council with his wife and two children, Andrew and Emily.

The Smiths told city council they looked long and hard, keeping the sensitivity of neighbors in mind, for a suitable location.

“We didn’t want to be in anyone’s backyard. We took time to pick a place,” said Smith’s wife. “We thought Park Avenue was the best lot. Residents bought in a commercial district. They didn’t buy for the quietness. They bought for the activity.”

Realtor Alan Sandlin, whose offices are next door to the proposed mini-golf, said his building’s condominium board felt the golf course would be a plus for the community.

“Our board of directors had a good discussion on this,” said Sandlin. “In discussion, the most salient issue was hours of operation.”

Sandlin suggested, as a reasonable expectation, council consider 10 p.m. for last golfers on the course with a closing time of 11 p.m. Council Frank Recker was initially opposed to council setting closing hours too early for fear time restrictions might contribute to business failure.

Councilors expressed concerns about music, lighting, fencing and landscape buffers. Smith said the family had no plans to use amplified music. He assured them he and his family were willing to work with council to meet its expectations.

Council approved the first reading on Smith’s mini-golf by a vote of 6-0, requiring esthetically pleasing fencing and vegetation and prohibiting the use of speakers or electronic music. Councilors restricted business hours to lights out by 10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Council removed wording that would have allowed the course to be open later for special circumstances by permission.

Attorney Fred Kramer, speaking on behalf of the second petitioner, presented a mini-golf course to be placed at 981 Winterberry Drive next to Sasso’s Restaurant.

Councilor Trotter asked council to place requirements consistent with the first petition on the Winterberry location. In conversation, councilors agreed but then added later hours of operation associated with holidays.

The second petitioner’s approval included an extension of hours to 11 p.m. for holiday eves, the day before those holidays when city government is closed. The first reading for the second petition passed by a vote of 6-0.

The Smiths will be allowed to request the additional holiday hours at council’s next meeting. Both miniature golf courses will need to pass second reading for final approval. Councilor Chuck Kiester was not present at Monday’s meeting.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Marco Island’s City Council is 5:30 p.m., Feb. 21, in the city’s Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

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Comments » 7

mahiman writes:

I doubt the islanders and tourists will sustain it, but I guess free enterprise gets the chance to try and make it work. I'm just disappointed council doesn't have enough consideration for the two neighborhood locations to make the golf owners put in high shrubs and fencing to keep out the noise and lighting after 8pm. The current plans are insufficient!

MrBreeze writes:

The lot next to the park seems fine and the other next to a resturant. The concept of mini golf is old and I do not believe that two of these will survive long on the island.

At least the City Council has put limits in place to keep them under control. The whole thing to me makes the island seems "cheesey" for the style of the island.

1Paradiselost writes:

Wow what a cheesy idea.

The city fathers are changing this island from class destination to no class resort.

The city fathers won't be happy until they change it to this!

Mayor_McCheese writes:

I also think its cheesy and that's why I like it.

Actually, if done correctly, it won't be cheesy at all. At least one of them if not both will survive as long as their overhead isn't too high - which shouldn't be for mini golf.

Finally, I won't have to shlep to Coral Cay. Marco really needs something other than going to the movies and/or eating ice cream to do at night or on overcast days. Maybe people will ride their bicycles. This will contribute to more vibrant island life.

I'm looking forward to improving my short game.

RayPray writes:

"Marco really needs something other than going to the movies and/or eating ice cream to do at night or on overcast days."

>> So highly unfair to say when our island just percolates with stimulating activities, rain or shine, even without the frenzy of mini-golf.

>> There is old-guy softball, where you can pretend to be an athlete without any inconvenience of having to exert yourself.

>> There is painting dead clams with the perky belles of our Shell Club.

>> There is feverish church activities surrounding Arts & Crap extravaganzas nearly every day, where you can peruse the same vendors selling the same tax-free treasures each sale & every season.

>> On Sunday at Mackle Park, you can relive the senile excitement of the Big Band Era by enjoying the same handful of Glen Miller tunes over and over again.

>> You can lounge around with the wise old nonagenarians decorating the front of Publix all day long.

>> Finally, should all else fail, don't forget those repetitious fund raisers at neighborhood bars for possibly sick locals who forgot to buy health insurance...or the ever-galvanizing adventure promised by Beach Clean up.

marco826 writes:

Try reading a book Marco...

MrBreeze writes:

I plan on riding my Ironhorse chopper, polishing my Corvette, enjoying the beech, maybee a high performance boat can also be in my "older" years.

Maybee by then I can enjoy the musical era in the park of ZZTop, Vanhalen, GunsNRoses, and other music of the past that will keep my senile self occupied.

PS> I will be the guy with the chrome walker with purple flames and polished aluminum wheel kit. My biggest challenge will be where to find 105 fuel? Aah, the troubles of the island.

I say we rally for a 1/4 mile drag strip on the island. I heard that San Marco was used as a runway during the Mackel Bros. years. Why not close it on Sundays and have Drag races. We can all have alot of fun if we put our minds to it.I know I will.

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