Letter to the Editor: Our island is going to sink!

... Unless we, you and I, get up and stand for monitoring our island as a residential community, not a downtown Miami Beach.

As I drive down Collier Boulevard going to my office, I admire the open space we have had, seeing most of the buildings on the beach side, set to allow landscaping of our trees and plants in well-placed areas to encourage walking or riding; even having rest benches for us older ones.

It gives our residents and our visitors great views as we go down to the Caxambus areas. It looks like we have the same pleasure going down Winterberry Drive if we keep the Golf & Gardens course alongside the synagogue, and the Art Center.

We were not planned to be a large city by the Mackle brothers. We are an island loving group in the tropics and let us keep it that way. I know the Mackle brothers, if they were here, would want to keep it that way.

God bless Marco Island.

Herbert Rosser Savage Sr.

Marco Island

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Comments » 25

2themoon writes:

Herb, your not making any friends with the syndicate.

WMissow writes:

"They Paved Over Paradise And Put In A Parking Lot!"

It is all about MONEY for Mass Mutual, nothing more, nothing less.

Marco does not need a two level parking lot all because the Marriott does not wish to spend the extra funds to do it right for the residents by going underground with one level.

The Marriott does not really appear to give A Boca's Butt about us residents. It is all about the MONEY.

If they are allowed to do this what will follow next?

lauralbi1 writes:

Herb: The Master Plan for Marco Island, designed by the Mackle Brothers, is MUCH more development oriented than what our Island is today. Veterans Park was destined to be Hotel and Commercial, IAW the Master Plan, but thank Glenn we have a Park. As you drive Collier Blvd. you will see parcels of vacant land that would have high rise condos and/or hotels if not for the economic turndown. These lots will most likely have those high rises one day, thanks to the Mackle Brothers. They did a GREAT job creating Marco island. But let's not kid ourselves just for the sake of a golf course or parking garage. Somebody should do an analysis of the expected tax revenue, both City and County, if the Marriott is permitted their request. I would rather them pay it than me.
Ed Issler

Konfuzius writes:

in response to WMissow:

"They Paved Over Paradise And Put In A Parking Lot!"

It is all about MONEY for Mass Mutual, nothing more, nothing less.

Marco does not need a two level parking lot all because the Marriott does not wish to spend the extra funds to do it right for the residents by going underground with one level.

The Marriott does not really appear to give A Boca's Butt about us residents. It is all about the MONEY.

If they are allowed to do this what will follow next?

"If they are allowed to do this what will follow next?"

A 100% resort destination! Nothing else.

ajm3s writes:

in response to lauralbi1:

Herb: The Master Plan for Marco Island, designed by the Mackle Brothers, is MUCH more development oriented than what our Island is today. Veterans Park was destined to be Hotel and Commercial, IAW the Master Plan, but thank Glenn we have a Park. As you drive Collier Blvd. you will see parcels of vacant land that would have high rise condos and/or hotels if not for the economic turndown. These lots will most likely have those high rises one day, thanks to the Mackle Brothers. They did a GREAT job creating Marco island. But let's not kid ourselves just for the sake of a golf course or parking garage. Somebody should do an analysis of the expected tax revenue, both City and County, if the Marriott is permitted their request. I would rather them pay it than me.
Ed Issler

The original plan also called out for 6000 homes to be built along San Marco Raod that were eliminated due to EPA restrictions placed on the development in the 70's.

So may I suggest a reduction in the amount of commercial space which was designed to support a city that now has 6000 fewer planned homes.....and let us not forget the loss of existing homes to demolition in the last 5 years.

To your comment of the excellent design laid out by the Mackle Bros. which I agree, but would it also suggest the elimination of variances that request more height and increased density in specific areas that were originally established to create and foster a "small tropical town".

And to your comment "..if the Marriott is permitted their request. I would rather them pay it than me".

My thought: But the Marriott does not want to pay the additional cost to place parking underground on the west side of the island, as what is being done in commercial areas i.e Miami Beach to address parking of high rise developments.

And if you really want to know why I agree with WMissow comment, just review the proposal provided by Mr. Medwedeff, where he states quite clearly, the Marriott will maintain the existing Lanai section of its facility, located in front of the convention center proposal, to maintain the character of the two story suites along the beach front.

Well, there are residents that want to maintain the same character, as well. So may I suggest we stop and hopefully, reverse the expansionism of existing commercial sites that wish to file amendments to increase height and agreements to expand at the lowest cost to the developer' NOT to the best interest of residents, especially those adjacent to the property.

If maximizing revenue is your guide to the future development then you can be assured that the character of this island, will resemble the east coast i.e. Miami Beach or Myrtle Beach or a host of other communities that I believe the residents of this city do not wish to recreate.

How about a new city motto: To preserve and protect and maintain this small tropical island. I believe this is a low cost approach to operations, somewhat analogous to the Marriott low cost approach to expanding its facility. Consider the push-back by Mr. Medwedeff, a single citizen recommendation the parking garage be underground and beneath the convention center, as is current state of the art. His reply: it could kill the project because it would reduce its ROE.

Interesting, even a first class hospitality corporation would not incorporate first class parking facilities below ground.

Even the Lincoln Center in NYC has underground parking to preserve the open courtyard and its illustrious fountain.

deltarome writes:

It is not economically feasible to put an underground parking lot across from the Marriott for the same reason Marco's waterfront homes don't have basements!
Ground water is too close to the surface there and during a storm, it would flood.
Of course the owners of the Marriott are searching for what suits their needs best but they are also part of this community and are influenced by public comment and suggestions.
Council is there to serve the needs of ALL of Marco and not just the needs of a few homeowners bordering a commercial area.
Maybe you can transplant an eagle there and claim it as a sanctuary!LOL

ajm3s writes:

in response to deltarome:

It is not economically feasible to put an underground parking lot across from the Marriott for the same reason Marco's waterfront homes don't have basements!
Ground water is too close to the surface there and during a storm, it would flood.
Of course the owners of the Marriott are searching for what suits their needs best but they are also part of this community and are influenced by public comment and suggestions.
Council is there to serve the needs of ALL of Marco and not just the needs of a few homeowners bordering a commercial area.
Maybe you can transplant an eagle there and claim it as a sanctuary!LOL

Are you serious?

I believe you are not aware of the ability of major developments to build underground structures in a tidal zone. Let's start with the year 2008, in South Florida:

"Deterred for decades by the high water table, developers from Miami to Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton are planning to build underground, forced there by height limits and extravagant land prices"

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2008...

Now you can listen to the testimony of a Marco Island citizen during the public comment which followed the presentation by Mr. Rick Medwedeff of the Marco Marriott. Go to timestamp 1:57:00

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

And Mr. Medwedeff response: estimated it would add an additional 30% to the cost but would impact ROE and could kill the project.

And quite honestly, a first class hospitality hotel that caters to the best in the industry cannot afford to construct underground parking is a joke. If the Marriott cannot support the added cost to go underground, then perhaps Marco Island is NOT the best location for a convention center if the decision to build a convention center and additional rooms hangs on the ROE influenced on the additional cost of going underground. For me, this is indicative of a plan that is marginal, if Mr. Medwedeff was accurate in his presentation to the public.

To your comment that "Council is there to serve the needs of ALL of Marco and not just the needs of a few homeowners bordering a commercial area."

My retort: Council is there to serve the common needs of Marco. I believe a convention center is not a feature that requires the city granting amendments and variances.

My take on the presentation: Marriott presented a low cost parking solution, and then concentrated all the parking to the rear (eastern side) closest to the residents which requires a amendment to an agreement just signed 12 years ago, so the Marriott could have green space on Collier Blvd.

Now lets fast forward to 2013 and the state of underground construction in coastal communities with current cost estimates:

http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/r...

Time for the first class Marriott to act like a first class corporation and quit presenting second class proposals.

I thought the Marriott offers the best in accommodations.... with the exception of neighbors. LOL

WMissow writes:

Delta,

Adding in a small way to what is clearly stated above, facts included:

There are homes on Marco which do have basements. They are spread all over the island. And guess what? They did not cost all that much to do and they are quite functional with no leaks and are used as family rooms and/storage for the owners.

It is all a matter of whether Mass Mutual wishes to spend a few more dollars to keep the residents on Marco happy. Never mind the agreement they made with the City in 2001.

WMissow writes:

Just in case you ask. Three that I have had the opportunity to see for myself are all on canal properties.

26yearsonmarco writes:

Ajm3s:

The geographic factors on the East Coast greatly differ from the factors on our coast.

Are you the same person that proposed a tunnel instead of a bridge on Winterberry??

tnjessen writes:

in response to WMissow:

Just in case you ask. Three that I have had the opportunity to see for myself are all on canal properties.

Basements on canals....Building department states there are no basements on Marco. I've never gotten a straight answer from them on any of my questions but why would they deny there are homes with basements on the island.

ajm3s writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

Ajm3s:

The geographic factors on the East Coast greatly differ from the factors on our coast.

Are you the same person that proposed a tunnel instead of a bridge on Winterberry??

Greatly differ, limestone? But I am open to a better understanding of the geographical distinction of both coasts, that would preclude the construction of underground parking. I would think the overriding factor to designing an underground garage is dealing with hydrostatic pressure and a stable base.

Not the same person that proposed a tunnel, I am only proposing what I have already stated, namely, not amending height restrictions and PUD agreements that specifically state the Marriott would not build an elevated parking facility on the east side of Collier.

Not to difficult to overcome if the Marriott wishes to add a convention center and additional rooms to the maximum allowed by current ordinances and zoning.

WMissow writes:

in response to tnjessen:

Basements on canals....Building department states there are no basements on Marco. I've never gotten a straight answer from them on any of my questions but why would they deny there are homes with basements on the island.

I think you should question them again. Somebody there, is not giving you complete answers? That does not surprise me.

I hope the building inspectors that approved these homes know what a basement is.

There may be different interpretations of a basement but when they are either completely or partially below ground level, I call it a basement, especially when there are no doors to the outside from the basement.

26yearsonmarco writes:

A "basement" on Marco is considered the first floor of a Stilt Home, is below flood elevation, and cannot be used as "living area".

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to ajm3s:

Greatly differ, limestone? But I am open to a better understanding of the geographical distinction of both coasts, that would preclude the construction of underground parking. I would think the overriding factor to designing an underground garage is dealing with hydrostatic pressure and a stable base.

Not the same person that proposed a tunnel, I am only proposing what I have already stated, namely, not amending height restrictions and PUD agreements that specifically state the Marriott would not build an elevated parking facility on the east side of Collier.

Not to difficult to overcome if the Marriott wishes to add a convention center and additional rooms to the maximum allowed by current ordinances and zoning.

"Greatly differ, limestone? But I am open to a better understanding of the geographical distinction of both coasts, that would preclude the construction of underground parking."

It's very simple, Marco Island is a pile of sand, sitting over a swampy base.

WMissow writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

A "basement" on Marco is considered the first floor of a Stilt Home, is below flood elevation, and cannot be used as "living area".

You are incorrect 26. The houses which I have been in are fully structured homes, not on stilts.

One had a fully furnished family room.

The other was below grade and was nothing more than a concrete basement by any means of the imagination.

I guess there may be different rules for different people.

WMissow writes:

26,

You may be correct because one of these houses appears to be built up in front with the land sloping towards the back. I do not remember any slope in the house with the finished, no door out basement, though.

Neither house is built on stilts and are both concrete.

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to WMissow:

26,

You may be correct because one of these houses appears to be built up in front with the land sloping towards the back. I do not remember any slope in the house with the finished, no door out basement, though.

Neither house is built on stilts and are both concrete.

Allot depends on when the home was built, and what the FEMA flood elevation was for the area the home exists in, vs what the map says today.

Older homes built to elevations on older maps may have a living area slab below current elevations, but they pay a large premium for flood insurance.

The FEMA Map is always changing, so if you have a particular home in mind, or want to check yours, go to the flood map department at the building department.

For example, I helped an individual with a home on the golf course, built in 1996, get the flood insurance reduced from $1800, to less than $200, by getting a flood elevation certificate from the building department.

WMissow writes:

26,

Thank you for the info.

Now lets see what the Marriott offers in way of sticking to their agreement of 2001.

Mass Mutual has the money. Let them absorb the costs not the residents on the eastern side of the property or the other residents who do not wish to see a 2nd story parking lot.

ROE is their bottom line. Lets see what they offer now that they see that the residents are not in favor of their present plan.

ajm3s writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

"Greatly differ, limestone? But I am open to a better understanding of the geographical distinction of both coasts, that would preclude the construction of underground parking."

It's very simple, Marco Island is a pile of sand, sitting over a swampy base.

Well, on the surface Marco Island "is a pile sand, sitting over a swampy base", but if you had the pleasure of walking "in" the largest swamp in Florida, the Everglades, you would be surprised to find just under the sawgrass and "swampy base" a hard limestone makeup, a sedimentary geological feature.

.....which I believe does not preclude building an underground parking facility under a high rise.

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to ajm3s:

Well, on the surface Marco Island "is a pile sand, sitting over a swampy base", but if you had the pleasure of walking "in" the largest swamp in Florida, the Everglades, you would be surprised to find just under the sawgrass and "swampy base" a hard limestone makeup, a sedimentary geological feature.

.....which I believe does not preclude building an underground parking facility under a high rise.

You need to speak to a Pile Driver, and you will learn how inconsistent, and deep, the limestone base is.

As far as having the pleasure of walking "in" the largest swamp in Florida, you might be safer walking down a street in Chicago.

ajm3s writes:

Here is state of the art for underground parking.

http://www.treehugger.com/clean-techn...

For investor types here is the company (7 years young) that won the contract.

http://www.automotionparking.com/comp...

I believe this would aid to providing more green space and an open air atmosphere that is more in keeping with a small tropical island. However, if poorly managed and unchecked, it could also lead to more densely packed highrises or allow more parking garages in some areas of the city. For example, it could lead to increase density in certain areas of the island i.e. Midtown District Redevolopment. Just consider the recent Density Transfer Ordinance to allow higher densities to encourage hotel development near Veterans Park. Densities never originally envisioned by the original developers nor those that agreed to purchase the Glon Property to create Veterans Park and a city council which eliminated the transfer of density credits as a result of this purchase in 2007.

To stop this unchecked and hodgepodge style development, you also need height restrictions as well, to preserve a small town vision.

I know there are many that like the height restrictions that were established in downtown Naples to preserve a small city ambiance, especially 5th Ave and 3rd St. Note: this lead to a host of above ground parking garages (3 level)especially in the 5th Ave area.

If you want state of the art, you go underground with parking, but Marco Island, I believe, does not have a 3 story height restriction for the Midtown Redevelopment District or areas it wishes to develop. The city is in fact, encouraging the development of parking garages in this area to sustain increase density as well as to promote pedestrian mobility within that area.

Pay attention, there are many moving parts and they are all focused on revenue enhancement, some of which will not add to enhancing the character of a small tropical town, and eventually may lead to diminishing the relative valuation of property especially residential property owners.

WMissow writes:

AJM,

Nice alternatives.

It is not "IF" underground parking is possible. It is whether Mass Mutual wants to spend the funds necessary to do the project with the residents of Marco considered in a meaningful way or how they can line their and shareholder's pockets with those considerations addressed in the least costly manner possible.

ajm3s writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

You need to speak to a Pile Driver, and you will learn how inconsistent, and deep, the limestone base is.

As far as having the pleasure of walking "in" the largest swamp in Florida, you might be safer walking down a street in Chicago.

True, the soil conditions on the island, are inconsistent, as indicated by the depth of pilings, but the rationale for pilings to support a structure remain the same. And to that end the structures on the coast are supported by pilings...

So, an underground parking garage under a high rise should be not be a problem to support.

As to the issue of safety, specifically walking in the Everglades, I would consider some sections of Chicago, i.e. South Chicago to be less safe. In fact, safety is relative unless you are a Marco Island Fire Chief. For those who live in fear, or use it to influence, may I suggest a nature walk with Clyde Butcher in Big Cypress National Preserve.

http://www.clydebutchersbigcypressgal...

The Everglades can be a pleasurable experience, in fact, it is one of the reasons I love Southwest Florida.

tessiebaby#275080 writes:

We live on Marco but couldn't sign the petition for the golf course as we were gone, but we are for it whole heartedly! I volunteer at the visitor's center and am frequently asked what activities are available for young people. Not a lot besides the movies and the beach. We were all excited to be able to add miniature golf to the short list. Many of us love to have family and friends with children come visit. Now we have something else to do. I hope something is worked out so we can keep it. Also, we are members of Mica and vote to retain the course.

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