MARCO ISLAND — Marco Island’s Planning Board will celebrate the New Year having answered the question: How much time should seawall contractors be given to complete their work?
On Friday, the board voted 6-1 to recommend reducing the number of building permit days for seawalls from 180 to 100 with the possibility of one 45-day extension. Charlette Roman voted against the decision, saying she needed more time for planning.
Bill Trotter made the motion calling more time for discussion, “analysis paralysis.”
Chairman Monte Lazarus said the board would revisit results after a few months to see if the change was working. The decision will move to City Council for a vote to change the city’s ordinance.
Seawall contractors already were granted 100 days with a possible 45 day extension to use vacant lots for manufacture and staging of seawalls. After that, contractors could secure a seawall building permit for 180 days with the possibility of one or more 180-day extensions.
Jim Timmerman of the Waterways Advisory Committee spoke before the board. The city and council showed good faith when it limited use of vacant lots, he said, but some contractors were not being good stewards of those lots. He called the use of multiple permits a loophole.
He urged the board to close the loophole.
“If it’s the lot beside your house that’s being used for 505 days, it’s a real problem,” he said.
Duane Thomas and Brian Gilmore spoke as marine contractors affected by the change.
“We have a seawall problem and these canals are just as important as our streets,” Thomas said. “You seem to be picking on our trade.”
Brian Gilmore offered a one-year interval between permitted periods as an alternate solution.
“If we could use one lot to do multiple projects, then we get several done and then it’s done. I think it should be a year before someone can go back there (to that vacant lot),” he said.
Several board members said they were not singling out seawall contractors and would look at other vacant lot building uses in the future.
In other business, the board granted an 18-foot new boat dock extension for a property located at 595 Inlet Drive. A 30-foot dock would be legally permitted, but the area in front of the property is shallow and contains environmentally sensitive submerged oyster beds along the property line.
By taking the dock out a total of 48 feet, the owner can place a deck boat and two personal watercraft outside the sensitive area. If the owner could dredge, an extension would not be at issue, but dredging is not allowed in the area of Barfield Bay.
The dock will total 451 square feet and protrude 2.4 feet into the waterway. The opposite shore of Alpha Key and Vintage Bay Condominiums is 4,010 feet away.
The board voted unanimously to approve the extension.