MARCO ISLAND — 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.