TripAdvisor touts free parking at south beach; Marco Island Planning Board says swale parking must stop

At Marco Island's Planning Board meeting on Friday, Debbie Roddy explains her belief that people drive away from Tigertail Beach because they don't want to pay for parking. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

At Marco Island's Planning Board meeting on Friday, Debbie Roddy explains her belief that people drive away from Tigertail Beach because they don't want to pay for parking. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Joe Irvin, city zoning administrator, presented this schematic of current beach parking and beach entries, including possible C-3 zoned properties that could house new parking lots. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Joe Irvin, city zoning administrator, presented this schematic of current beach parking and beach entries, including possible C-3 zoned properties that could house new parking lots. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

New light-emitting diode (LED) signs with flowing text like this one at Tommie Barfield Elementary would be banned under revisions of the city's signage codes. Static signs with intermittent changes would be allowed. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

New light-emitting diode (LED) signs with flowing text like this one at Tommie Barfield Elementary would be banned under revisions of the city's signage codes. Static signs with intermittent changes would be allowed. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Lana Fitzgerald, a parishioner of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, thanks the Marco Island Planning Board Friday for considering an extension of temporary event signage to seven signs for seven days. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Lana Fitzgerald, a parishioner of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, thanks the Marco Island Planning Board Friday for considering an extension of temporary event signage to seven signs for seven days. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— Go to tripadvisor.com and one comment about Marco Island’s south beach reads: “Parking is available for $8/day but usually there is street parking within a block for free.”

Another entry headlines: “come early for on-street free parking.”

Residents and Marco Island’s Planning Board agreed Friday that corrective action on south beach’s parking problem needs to happen sooner rather than later and preferably before July 4. Two area residents reported losing real estate sales because buyers were not happy with swale parking.

Joe Irvin, city zoning administrator, offered several solutions. Among them were additional parking lots in C-3 areas near the south beach and Marriott entrances, and placing a beach tram in service from inland parking areas to deliver beachgoers to public beach entrances. Neither curried favor with most board members or the public.

Ruth McCann from Marco Island Civic Association stood firm on no shared parking at its privately owned south beach parking lot. City staff reported no parking spaces were negotiated with Marriott’s Crystal Shores when an easement for beach access was given in exchange for density considerations.

Irvin listed Tigertail Beach with 287 parking spaces as an underutilized facility. He suggested better signage to Tigertail and roadway upgrades including turn lanes would make it easier to travel toward and from the area. County residents can obtain stickers to park for free at Tigertail Beach and the county’s south beach parking area. All others pay $8.

Debbie Roddy, a member of the city’s Beach Advisory Committee, said if free parking in the swales is available, any solution that required people to pay for access would not work.

“The county recorded 2,145 turnarounds at the Tigertail Beach toll booth in a year’s time,” she said. “Those are people who just don’t want to pay.”

She also said the county was close to completing its sixth boardwalk at the south end of Tigertail Beach. With the new boardwalk, getting to the beach would take about the same time as parking in Swallow Avenue swales and walking to south beach.

City Council Chairman Larry Magel urged the board to consider all swale parking problems, not just the south beach area. The board agreed the city needed a global solution but felt swale parking should be banned entirely on Swallow Avenue, Seagrape Drive, Swan Drive and Maple Avenue.

In other action, the planning board held a public hearing to amend an ordinance on temporary signage. To accommodate special events, the board moved to permit seven signs to remain on public right-of-ways for seven days. The original ordinance was written for 10 signs, but recent permits have allowed only five. The decision was a compromise.

Lana Fitzgerald, publicity chairwoman for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church’s annual flea market, thanked the board for helping service groups and churches promote their events.

The board discussed banning light-emitting diode (LED) signs. The Marco Lutheran Church and Tommie Barfield Elementary have LED signs on their properties. After discussing the safety hazards of rapidly changing messages, board members chose to allow LED signs but require a minimum time the message would appear. They voted to ban reader boards with flowing LED messages.

As part of temporary signage, the board banned political signs in city right-of-ways and signage using live animals or humans.

The Planning Board will hold a workshop at 9 a.m., May 18, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive, to formalize a swale parking plan. Final recommendations will be shared with city council at a later date. It will be up to council to move forward with an ordinance.

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 10

Sparky100 writes:

What swale parking PLAN. No need for a study. Have MIPD enforce existing parking regulations. A 50 dollar ticket trumps an 8 dollar parking pass every time.

FECOYLE writes:

I had discussion with people running for the council both incumbants & wannabes & told them this was going to be a problem with people parking on streets & private Condo lots & they all said the Marco PD would handle it & the access was just going to be for the nearby neighborhoods. They also created a sanitary problem at the access next to the Marriott. The users there either relive themselves in the water or tresspass on private property to use the facilities. This is going to be a long term issue on Marco because the Council would NOT listen to the residents

ajm3s writes:

The article does not reveal the most enlightening moment which was at the tail end of the discussion in which Mr. Magel made the following comments to the Planning Board:

"What is your solution?"

"The people are going to come, the question is how do we accommodate them,....How do we accommodate people coming onto the island?"

Go to time stamp 1:49:00

http://view.liveindexer.com/ViewIndex...

Now, perhaps it may be my bias, but Mr. Magel will not be satisfied until every person who comes over that bridge is accommodated to the extent it may impact the quality of its residents.

For example, how does providing parking or transit service to beach access locations increase the quality of residents on the island. Bear in mind, I consider vacationers and part-time residents who stay in hotels and condos along the beach as Marco Island residents, although some may consider it to be a liberal interpretation.

Now ask yourself, what do you want your island to be? I say all things in moderation, and the Mackle Brothers got it right when they laid out the locations for vacationers with the bulk of the land to single family homes and condos, all with their own parking facilities.

Now if Tigertail and South Beach, both Collier County facilities are not adequate for Mr. Magel, may I suggest he run for council in Naples to accommodate the folks on 951.

I believe, Mr. Magel is talking about accommodating those in the 951 corridor under the belief that they will spend their dollars in the city but they must have facilities. And to Mr. Magels comment they do not want to go to Tigertail, they want the beach in front of the hotels/condos. Well if you want to accommodate them, you will have to build sanitary facilities. Now how is that going to blend into that residential community envisioned by the Mackle Brothers.

The best comment: "Tigertail is NOT a beach"

Really? Tigertail is not a beach. Unbelievable.

How do you expect to have a conversation when we cannot even define beach adequately. Really, Tigertail is Not a beach.

Aughhhhhhhhhhhhh! And Mr. Magel makes the claim we are misinformed.

Mr. Magel please, Tigertail is a beach.

ed34145 writes:

"Irvin listed Tigertail Beach with 287 parking spaces as an underutilized facility. He suggested better signage to Tigertail and roadway upgrades including turn lanes would make it easier to travel toward and from the area. "

Turn lanes? Really? Is he serious????? There is absolutely no need for turn lanes on the way to Tigertail.......

Mayor_McCheese writes:

Build a boardwalk or bridge across the lagoon at Tigertail so visitors can access the beach at Tigertail that they really want to go to rather than the slimey lagoon. Ticket people who park on the swales around South Beach (and put a sign at the South Beach parking lot announcing the new bridge across the Tigertail lagoon). Collier County can advertise this new access and ample Tigertail beach parking.

Visitors don't care about being near the hotels, they care about having a Gulf front beach. Give them what they want and they won't go to South Beach which has no facilities unlike Tigertail which has great facilities, but poor Gulf front beach access.

captnjimbo writes:

Action at last. Ajm3s comments well targeted... again. Also, anybody notice the 30 no parking signs on Swallow to keep the driveways clear...once the overall problem solved perhaps they can be removed.

Ian_Curtis writes:

Several people have said to ticket the cars parked in the swales. For what? It is currently legal to park in a swale on Marco at any time except between 2 am and 6 am with some specific exemptions. The people parking around South Beach that are not between a no parking sign are parked legally. There is nothing the police can do about it. The parking ordnance will need to be changed before the police can write tickets.

panola60 writes:

The quality of our life and the value of our property are dropping every day, but understandably nobody really cares as long as it's happening to someone else.

captnjimbo writes:

Ian...you are correct of course...that is why the city must change the law. I think they would also be able to issue permits for event parking if that is what we want.

Ian_Curtis writes:

I agree 100%. But it needs to be fair for all the island, not just the South Beach area. I also have swale parking issues but not near the beach.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features