Marco Island’s City Council resolves Bald Eagle Drive lighting controversy

Residents of Olde Marco, sporting their identifiable "red shirts," stand outside Marco Island City Council chambers Monday and express their joy in winning the fight to remove industrial style lighting from their district. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Residents of Olde Marco, sporting their identifiable "red shirts," stand outside Marco Island City Council chambers Monday and express their joy in winning the fight to remove industrial style lighting from their district. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Sand washing away from Hideaway Beach is causing tides to come dangerously close to two condominium foundations. Marco Island City Council voted Monday to declare an emergency and assist the self-taxed district in deploying erosion control measures. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Sand washing away from Hideaway Beach is causing tides to come dangerously close to two condominium foundations. Marco Island City Council voted Monday to declare an emergency and assist the self-taxed district in deploying erosion control measures. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

This fallen mangrove on Hideaway Beach's eroded area shows the degradation addressed in May 2012 by Marco Island's City Council. Council declared an emergency in the area to speed up permitting for erosion control. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

This fallen mangrove on Hideaway Beach's eroded area shows the degradation addressed in May 2012 by Marco Island's City Council. Council declared an emergency in the area to speed up permitting for erosion control. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— After more than six months, “red shirt” representatives from Olde Marco won’t sit at City Council meetings and speak their minds during public comment.

On Monday, Marco Island City Councilors approved Collier Boulevard street lamps for the Olde Marco District and promised to remove the industrial type lighting so offensive to people in the area. The motion passed by a vote of 6-0. Councilor Joe Batte was not present at the meeting.

The lighting project was halted after outcries from residents claiming tall, highway style lights were not representative of Olde Marco’s character. City councilors directed the Beautification Advisory Committee to develop a plan for island-wide lighting. At its last meeting, the committee told City Manager Jim Riviere that the Collier Boulevard lights should be used on city arterial ways including Bald Eagle Drive.

Earlier, city staff discovered 62 Collier Boulevard streetlights in storage. Those will be used on Bald Eagle Drive in Olde Marco. Labor for removal of industrial lights and replacement with the shorter marine-style lampposts will cost $800 per fixture or $55,800 for the project. The city will receive a credit of $10,000 from the installer for the earlier unfinished project.

Olde Marco’s two most outspoken representatives, Bernadette Powers and Mary Ann Maniace, thanked council and the beautification committee for finally seeing it their way. Council agreed to remove the unwanted poles and replace them as quickly as possible. The industrial lights will be repurposed by the city, said Tim Pinter, public works director.

Marco Island City Council moved through the rest of its agenda seemingly as one mind. All issues passed on 6-0 votes or unanimous consensus throughout the session.

Council voted to declare an emergency in the Hideaway Beach District. Critical erosion of its beach is destroying wildlife habitat, endangering mangroves and threatening the foundations of two high-rise condominiums. Pinter presented slides of the damage. The emergency decree will accelerate the process of permitting needed to add sand and erosion control structures to the beach.

Council heard testimony on a variance for a seawall around its North Water Treatment Plant at 807 East Elkcam Circle. The change would allow the seawall to be built 4.5 feet higher than allowed, raising it from 5.5 to 10 feet.

The wall is designed to be 1,157 feet long. The variance city council passed will allow the height increase for the full length of the wall when built. In the near future, the city will replace only a portion of the wall using $466,000 allocated for the project’s first phase.

Council moved to award the contract for phase I of the Safe Routes to School project to Marquee Development for $293,769. Widened and contiguous sidewalks will be placed around the perimeter of Tommie Barfield Elementary and Marco Island Charter schools.

The project will receive an FDOT grant for $227,840, leaving the city’s costs at $65,929.

Marquee Development was the contractor that installed the South Collier Boulevard shared-use sidewalks.

Councilors agreed by consensus to remove the first hearing of a new flood ordinance from the agenda. They also forwarded to a later date discussion on a public-private partnership (P3) operating the city’s utilities. Council instructed staff to complete research on similar P3s and determine cost savings for the city. Councilors plan to attend a public-private utilities workshop on July 17.

A 2-year performance evaluation gave City Manager Riviere top marks. On Monday, councilors offered an overview of earlier private discussions with the city manager on his job performance.

Councilor Frank Recker gave the city manager an A, saying he reserved an A-plus for God. Councilor Bill Trotter praised Riviere for good budget controls, reorganization of departments for efficiency, and learning to be a public official after private sector experience. Trotter asked for more accountability and timeliness in council communication and materials for discussion.

Council Chairman Larry Magel thanked the manager for controlling costs resulting in a $1.75 million surplus, keeping all city departments under budget for the past 18 months with one exception, and reducing staff from 211 to its current 207.

Councilor Chuck Kiester lightheartedly chided Riviere for the choice of “on-hold” phone music used by the city. Councilors Jerry Gibson and Wayne Waldack offered no comments.

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

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Comments » 12

maharg writes:

Congratulations Olde Marco. Now you too can have antique low streetlights that shine horizontally into motorists eyes instead of on the sidewalks and crosswalks.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

OOOOOO Hideaway...you shouldn't have womaned about the trees on Coconut island. Tisk tisk. Cant wait for those condos to sink so my house becomes oceanfront property

chinkley writes:

Let Hideaway Beach pay for their own problems. If they had real beach asccess for all of Marco Island I would be in favor of helping them. I am not in favor of paying for their private beach.

WizeOlMarco writes:

Bernadette Powers, Mary Ann Maniace and everyone that took time to collect signatures and attend meetings...from an Olde Marconian, thank you!

ed34145 writes:

Since when do the Columbo's live in "Olde Marco?"

marcotime writes:

EMERGENCY BEACH RESTORATION ON HIDEAWAY??!! They are their own tax district. There is no public access to these beaches, yet John. Q Public taxpayer money is being spent on this! What an OUTRAGE!! I demand my access to these beaches, NOW!!! Absolutly a joke. How much will this cost me to restore something I can't utilize?? Ask for County money, not City money! Nice to see how this was just slid right past everyone. Congrats Council, continue the deceit.

John_Q_Public writes:

in response to marcotime:

EMERGENCY BEACH RESTORATION ON HIDEAWAY??!! They are their own tax district. There is no public access to these beaches, yet John. Q Public taxpayer money is being spent on this! What an OUTRAGE!! I demand my access to these beaches, NOW!!! Absolutly a joke. How much will this cost me to restore something I can't utilize?? Ask for County money, not City money! Nice to see how this was just slid right past everyone. Congrats Council, continue the deceit.

Wasting my money? What else is new? Bloated crony government in Washington all the way down to the city level.

captnjimbo writes:

Back to the lights...we need a sensitivity to history and neighborhood before making arbitrary decisions that affect those nieghborhoods. A good lesson here and a good democratic process...lots of winners.

happy6 writes:

marcotime...the TAX DISTRICT that hideaway formed is funded entirely by the owners in hideaway...not a dime of your money goes towards it...and as far as using the beaches...go ahead...bring your boat or walk from tigertail...no different than the marriott or any other private property.

blogsmog writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

26yearsonmarco writes:

MARCO ISLAND — “After more than six months, “red shirt” representatives from Olde Marco won’t sit at City Council meetings and speak their minds during public comment”.
“Earlier, city staff discovered 62 Collier Boulevard streetlights in storage. Those will be used on Bald Eagle Drive in Olde Marco. Labor for removal of industrial lights and replacement with the shorter marine-style lampposts will cost $800 per fixture or $55,800 for the project. The city will receive a credit of $10,000 from the installer for the earlier unfinished project.”
Looks like a Light Bulb Lit Up in the heads of the Council, and another one Lit Up in the City Staff who “discovered” 62 Lights in storage. (sound’s like the same story about the “discovery” of the missing 4 million bucks)
All this leads me to one conclusion: The people running this City are not very BRIGHT.
The money being wasted on this screw up should come out of the City Staff salary, not my pocket.

tinysota writes:

in response to blogsmog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is anyone at the Eagle ever going to remove this ridiculous post?

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