Residents tell Marco Island City Council that South Beach swale parking is causing problems

Marco Island Public Works employees erect no parking signs near entrances to residential condominiums on Swallow Avenue Wednesday morning. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island Public Works employees erect no parking signs near entrances to residential condominiums on Swallow Avenue Wednesday morning. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Residents of Swallow Avenue and Seagrape Drive pack Marco Island's City Council meeting Monday to seek relief from problems caused by vehicles parking on-street in the South Marco Beach area. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Residents of Swallow Avenue and Seagrape Drive pack Marco Island's City Council meeting Monday to seek relief from problems caused by vehicles parking on-street in the South Marco Beach area. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— More than 100 people turned out for public comment at Monday’s city council meeting to bring attention to parking problems at South Marco Beach public entrance on Collier Boulevard. Parking was not on the agenda, but citizens living near the entrance spoke during the Community Forum segment of the meeting.

Edward Purevich, spokesman for the group, presented Marco Island City Councilors with a handout including photos of offending vehicles. He also read the presentation into public record. Purevich is a resident of Marisol Plaza Condominium at the corner of Swallow Avenue and Seagrape Drive, the hub of swale parking problems.

Residents shared concerns for safety and property damage. They requested city council consider alternatives to on-street parking or restrict vehicles to parallel parking only.

Parking on-street in public right-of-ways, referred to as swale parking on Marco Island, occurs when the county’s public lot is full during peak season, summer and holidays, residents said. Collier County owns a 70-space parking lot on Swallow Avenue that can be accessed by beach parking permit or a fee of $8 at a master meter on the premises. There is no charge to park in the public right-of-way.

Marco Island Civic Association also owns a parking facility at South Marco Beach entrance, but parking is restricted to MICA members only. Both parking facilities were acquired through county concessions in the development of Cape Marco. MICA’s parking facility includes restrooms and a private picnic area.

Swallow Avenue links South Collier Boulevard to Collier Court and is traveled by residents in the largely condominium area. Residents described vehicles obstructing sidewalks and overhanging roadways. Vehicles also park in front of fire hydrants, and in some cases, on driveways to private property, residents said.

Residents on Swallow Avenue complained that cars park nose-in and side-by-side on both sides of the road filling swales and blocking driveway views. On Seagrape Drive, cars parallel park on both sides of the road with occupants exiting into traffic, residents said.

Right-of-way parking increased as it became common practice. Greater numbers of vehicles have resulted in increased pedestrian activity on sidewalks and indiscriminate crossing of roadways, residents reported.

Residents understood that people come to the area for beach access, but felt the situation was out of hand. Condominium association representatives responsible for maintaining adjacent right-of-ways said they found it difficult to keep swales in good maintenance with the damage from constant use and leaking vehicle fluids.

Capt. Dave Baer of the Marco Island Police Department said the city could enforce encroachment on sidewalks, roadways and hydrants. No ordinance prohibiting swale parking or requiring parking a certain distance from private driveways existed, he said.

There is an ordinance that prohibits parking on all city swales between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

“We concur there is a problem that can be handled with signage and enforcement,” Baer said. “Signs are going to work. It’s the most efficient and quickest way.”

Additional signs can be placed in the area by approval of the city manager. Council asked city staff to contact MICA and see if vehicles could make use of the members-only lot for parking at a nominal charge.

Councilor Chuck Kiester asked if some kind of barrier could be erected between driveways that would physically stop people from parking. Residents did not appear to favor that solution.

“Our beach is beautiful, and if we didn’t have the concern, we wouldn’t be here,” said James Webb of Florentine Gardens Condominium. “We’re not occupiers, these are solid citizens. This is causing tremendous problems.”

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Comments » 13

ed34145 writes:

How do you expect anything to be accomplished when you don't have a real city manager and he chooses to do nothing about everything?

FECOYLE writes:

A number of years ago I contacted the Councilmen & told them this would be a problem & they said the Marco PD would handle it I asked where these folks would go to the bathroom & they said it wouldnt be a problem. Ill tell you where they go to the bath room, the Residents Beach Facility that I pay $165 dollars a year to belong. I watch these people walk up every day & come onto the property.The Council was blindsided by a few

duhuhuhha writes:

A bunch of old curmudgeons here. I have lived here for 30+ years, yet I understand that we have an island that people wish to come to, enjoy its pleasantries, and spend their money. Really now??! Complaining that someone uses “your bathroom” ?? It is there, you can enjoy it’s use any time you want with the $165.00 you doled out. Does it really get under your skin so much that others use “your” bathroom?
People in the condos responded to a problem by informing their council members in the manner they did. The council will respond. We need to make room for these visitors and “invited guests”. This is a resort “destination” and those of us doing business on this island understand the value of these “guests” choosing our “destination”.
The city should spend the money required to make room for these cars and to add the facilities needed for bathroom breaks or this island will lose its flavor, and effect business accordingly. Whether it be more lots for parking, or widening roads and installing parking meters or adding port-a-potties, we Islanders need to respond to the problem POSITIVELY and not by gripping about the visitors.
I just hope the condo commandos in the south end of the Island don’t get the “not in my back yard” mentality when the decision might become road widening and parking meters. The beauty of our Island should be shared with those who are staying here and SPENDING here.

naples_rocket writes:

there's waaaay too many people in this town. It's not even relaxing anymore. Sad :(

Johnnymarco49 writes:

in response to ed34145:

How do you expect anything to be accomplished when you don't have a real city manager and he chooses to do nothing about everything?

We have a city manager? Oh ya, its that guy that fired only half of the people that should have been fired when he started and now does nothing. Your right

Sparky100 writes:

Duh, yes it does matter. I pay my dues I expect MICA to provide me the services I paid for. MICA stand tall do not enter any deal to allow use by non members.

RayPray writes:

in response to FECOYLE:

A number of years ago I contacted the Councilmen & told them this would be a problem & they said the Marco PD would handle it I asked where these folks would go to the bathroom & they said it wouldnt be a problem. Ill tell you where they go to the bath room, the Residents Beach Facility that I pay $165 dollars a year to belong. I watch these people walk up every day & come onto the property.The Council was blindsided by a few

Shame! Shame!

Don't you go to church?

Think what Jesus would tell you to do!

You should be inviting these visitors into your condo to use your own toilet if that's what they need!

captnjimbo writes:

Make the parking illegal then ticket the offenders and put the money in the fireworks fund...or other discretionary account.

happy6 writes:

tell the genius city nmgr to take a look at the farmers market parking situation too...and while he's at it...don't forget the catholic church that holds services 24/7.

Pursuit writes:

We bought on Marco to be away from the crowded Naples beaches & street's Slowly but surely we are becoming a destination!! As the area build's up Around Rt 41 & 951 These resident's as well as tourist's all flock to our tiny island. Cant say as i blame them It's easy. As an example someone can buy a home in Verona Walk for half the money of a Marco home & have half the attached expenses & be 20 minutes away from our beaches. Some kind of regulation need's to be applied If the parking lot to the beach is full It's full period. I am seeing Swale parking & parking on private lot's at Maple & Flamingo If there is no room to park There is no room period!! It's not fair to the property owner's who maintain the swales. The other issue is sanitation If ya gotta go ya gotta go In 4 feet of water who can tell #1 #2 ??? Marco was not intended as a beach destination & is about to be overwhelmed Ban swale parking & enforce it The island is not big enough to be a playground for everybody

ajm3s writes:

in response to Pursuit:

We bought on Marco to be away from the crowded Naples beaches & street's Slowly but surely we are becoming a destination!! As the area build's up Around Rt 41 & 951 These resident's as well as tourist's all flock to our tiny island. Cant say as i blame them It's easy. As an example someone can buy a home in Verona Walk for half the money of a Marco home & have half the attached expenses & be 20 minutes away from our beaches. Some kind of regulation need's to be applied If the parking lot to the beach is full It's full period. I am seeing Swale parking & parking on private lot's at Maple & Flamingo If there is no room to park There is no room period!! It's not fair to the property owner's who maintain the swales. The other issue is sanitation If ya gotta go ya gotta go In 4 feet of water who can tell #1 #2 ??? Marco was not intended as a beach destination & is about to be overwhelmed Ban swale parking & enforce it The island is not big enough to be a playground for everybody

"Marco was not intended as a beach destination"? Are you serious!

The problem is not beach goers, the problem is the city is not focused on solving existing and perennial issues.

Beach parking has always been a problem, just look at the size of the public beach, yes, public beach, as compared to available public parking. It is that simple.

And you aptly point out the increasing population on 951 and developed communities, which will only exacerbate beach parking going forward.

Yet, what is the city focused on:

Density Transfer
Market Center

If you believe this is a swale and enforcement problem, may I suggest you join the city staff and perpetuate poor vision given the perennial parking problems with one of our greatest gems, the beach

Its tough to figure this town, we need to pay for fireworks because it attracts visitors then we do not allow them ample space to park. Now, if you do not want the visitors here, then may I suggest you place a gate at both land bridges and we can live in a nice secure gated community. And if you think its expensive now, then the gated scenario will really drive costs higher. But then again, did we not originally come here as a visitor, attracted by a brochure with the crescent beach?

I guess we forgot what attracted us here, and now we want it all for ourselves! And remember, this is a city, not a gated community, yet.

captnjimbo writes:

The parking down there was a disaster yesterday. I did see some tickets but not many.

The swales are not parking lots...should be police presense on predictable days...like today. Two blocks yesterday and could easily cover the south end. People that actually live their walk 4 to six blocks to the beach.

katieb writes:

I live on Seagrape. My issue with the parking and beach traffic is that I have to pick up the garbage in MY yard and fix the sprinkler heads in MY yard because people who don't live here and don't respect our neighborhood trash it. Is the city going to pay for garbage pick up and swale/sprinkler maintenance? No! I also belong to Residents' Beach. The Members pay for the beautiful facilities there, the clean bathrooms and effortless parking. Which by the way, are cleaned and maintained by MICA employees, paid for by members' dues. Look what happens to south beach and my street when the beach goers don't pay for access....they trash it!! No parking in the public lot? Join MICA or go somewhere else!

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