Shop Talk: Putt-putt courses could score holes in one

CHRIS CURLE
Some of our favorite young people and their adult supervisors are often seen washing cars at Kretch's parking lot, raising money for school activities.  For example, eighth grader Elizabeth Clark (blue hoodie) and pals were in the suds this day, hoping to help finance a school trip to Washington DC in March. Don Farmer / Eagle Correspondent

Some of our favorite young people and their adult supervisors are often seen washing cars at Kretch's parking lot, raising money for school activities. For example, eighth grader Elizabeth Clark (blue hoodie) and pals were in the suds this day, hoping to help finance a school trip to Washington DC in March. Don Farmer / Eagle Correspondent

Zombies abound in some mini golf courses in other parts of the country, but here, we are assured both putt-putt courses proposed for Marco Island will be low-key, low-to-the-ground and tasteful, not a zombie, not a volcano in the lot. Courtesy / destinationbutlercounty.com

Zombies abound in some mini golf courses in other parts of the country, but here, we are assured both putt-putt courses proposed for Marco Island will be low-key, low-to-the-ground and tasteful, not a zombie, not a volcano in the lot. Courtesy / destinationbutlercounty.com

When Joe Irvin arrived on Marco last October as the city’s zoning administrator, his office computer was barely warmed up when the first proposal for a putt-putt golf course here landed on his desk.

Within two weeks another putt-putt proposal showed up.

“I was just getting my feet wet,” Joe says. “It’s amazing to me that there are two at the same time. I’m very surprised.”

As far as we can tell, a lot of other people were surprised as well. And if City Council takes up the mini golf projects at its next meeting as expected, we guess chances are good both facilities will be approved.

If so they would be under conditional use permits, so we asked Joe Irvin to explain what that means.

“It’s exactly what the word conditional means, basically that this type of use is allowed with conditions. Conditional Use requires due process. Property owners within a 300-foot radius are notified of the proposal. The site is posted and the notice is published in the newspaper.

“At the council meeting, we’ll bring forth both petitions, passing on the recommendation of the Planning Board that the council approve both with the representative conditions and stipulations.”

“From a zoning standpoint, they’ve both been reviewed and mitigated or ‘conditioned’ enough to a level so they wouldn’t be a nuisance to the neighborhoods.

“If Council approves the resolutions we’ve prepared, within them are conditions and stipulations. They’ve been thought of by staff, vetted by the Planning Board process and ultimately will be approved or denied or added to by City Council.”

We asked Joe whether either of the putt-putt places might resemble mini golf courses we’ve seen elsewhere, with roaring volcanoes, giant waterfalls and cartoon characters.

“Both of these two proposals will be relatively flat, with a mild spray fountain, water features, and some small rockery,” he says. “And no, they won’t be like some mini courses with players having to bounce the golf ball off a fake rhino’s nose and things like that.”

Saturday car washes for a week in D.C.

The great car wash/go-to-Washington project has only four more scheduled suds and school spirit events, the next one being Saturday.

We checked it out last time, when we saw some Charter Middle School kids at curbside in front of Kretch’s restaurant, waving big signs urging us dusty-car people to turn in and get a good cleaning.

The kids were out there along with some some parent volunteers, all hosing, wiping, swiping and sudsing away in good spirits.

“For what are you raising money?” we asked Elizabeth Clark, an eighth grader, as she and others attacked our car with water, suds and a lot of enthusiasm.

“We’re going to Washington DC in late March,” Elizabeth explained.

They’ll be in the capital for about a week, seeing the sights in the beautiful federal area of Washington.

As the youngsters swarmed over another couple of cars that pulled in while we were there, I asked Elizabeth’s mom, Nancy Clark, how much we owed for our car wash.

“We hope for at least a $5 donation,” she said, then told us about what I would call the customer of the day to that point.

“Our first car of the day was a man in a Mercedes station wagon who showed up at 8:15 this morning, told me he was our first ‘non-customer’ and gave us a $50 tip.

“Another islander came through with his car, then went home, got his second car and came through again.”

Parental volunteer Nadine Quillette gave us the schedule of the remaining car wash Saturdays. They’s all be at Kretch’s, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., on tomorrow the 28th, then on Feb. 11, 25 and March 10.

Maybe the kids will get a chance to meet some members of the Congress as they tour the capitol. If so, perhaps they could tell the Democrats and Republicans that if they can’t get anything done there, maybe the politicians should come home and help the kids wash some cars here. Then the kids could stay in D.C. and clean house there.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 6

MrBreeze writes:

Putt-putt golf next to residences? Are you kidding me? I posted on this in the other article and I do believe the ONLY place this could fly would be in a City Owned Park thus it could be leased to the operator, controlled for operation, and cleaned up if it were to fail. To allow this in ANY other location no matter what the zoning code may be "tweaked" to allow it would be a bad idea.

I think the Putt-Putt is a harmless business, it just has to be in the right location.

Did we just not have the same battle about a proposed high school. It was not the concept, it was just the location. Again we need Owners and Taxpayers to step up and "just say NO".

mahiman writes:

Comments against Putt Putt weren't even considered by the Planning Board. They asked a few questions and rubberstamped it. Council needs to take a stand for the people it represents. Mini Golf right next to neighborhoods should not be open past 9pm. These folks want to operate until between 11-and-midnight. It's a total disregard for our neighborhoods. PLus, it's a horrible business plan. Stop the failure before it fails itself and our neighborhoods!

themessiah writes:

There have already been (2) putt-putt courses on the island in the past and they both failed. The first one was at the old Dairy Queen location and the other was indoors where Captain Brien's is now. The island just doesn't support this type of activity.

MrBreeze writes:

Klaus, free enterprise is fine but if the concept of the business is not good for the surrounding neighborhood then it is up to City Council and City Planners to protect the area that would be impacted.

Again it is a harmless business it just has to be in the proper place to not effect the surrounding properties.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

To all the people who are fearing the putt putt will be built close/next to their properties, look at it this way..

The next Cat 1 hurricane will wipe it out. Cheer up

mahiman writes:

We can only hope they get wiped out or go-under! A bowling alley would be better. Indoors...no noise outside!

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