New Planning Board decides to reconsider parking ban near Marco Island's south beach

A new Planning Board sits down to business Friday. Seated from left are Frank Mulligan, Monte Lazarus, newly elected Vice Chairman Bob Brown and new Chairman Jack Patterson. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

A new Planning Board sits down to business Friday. Seated from left are Frank Mulligan, Monte Lazarus, newly elected Vice Chairman Bob Brown and new Chairman Jack Patterson. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Jay Houghtaling, better known as musician J Robert, swears his testimony will be truthful on a public petition for vacation of a city right-of-way beside property he recently purchased. The petition was granted. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Jay Houghtaling, better known as musician J Robert, swears his testimony will be truthful on a public petition for vacation of a city right-of-way beside property he recently purchased. The petition was granted. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

City Attorney Burt Saunders discusses deed restrictions versus codified zoning with Joe Irvin, zoning administrator during Fridayís Planning Board meeting. Seated beside Irvin is Lina Upham, planning and zoning technician. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

City Attorney Burt Saunders discusses deed restrictions versus codified zoning with Joe Irvin, zoning administrator during Fridayís Planning Board meeting. Seated beside Irvin is Lina Upham, planning and zoning technician. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

During Fridayís Planning Board meeting, Marco Island City Councilor Larry Sacher asks the board to consider a discussion on problems with residential rental properties. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

During Fridayís Planning Board meeting, Marco Island City Councilor Larry Sacher asks the board to consider a discussion on problems with residential rental properties. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Marco Island's newly seated Planning Board learned Friday that one decision meant to do something right for the island may have resulted in unintended consequences.

A parking ban imposed last summer on seven streets leaves no place to park for guests visiting single family residences. The ban includes streets near the south beach entrance and the public access walkway beside Marriott's Crystal Shores.

"The parking restrictions are not a satisfactory answer," said Larry Sacher, Marco Island City Councilor, speaking at the board meeting. "The solution put in place is not a solution."

Frank Mulligan, new to the board, raised the issue when another new member, former City Councilor Bill Trotter, asked for discussion on future agenda items. Returning board member Monte Lazarus was quick to agree that the ban needed revisiting.

"People living in those areas like to have parties and they are handcuffed as a result of that ruling," he said. "There needs to be an exception. We shouldn't regulate whether or not a resident can have a party."

The city established the ban after residents on Seagrape Drive, Swallow Avenue and areas adjacent to south beach complained parking was becoming a problem. Residents provided photographs showing rows of cars parked front-in on city right-of-ways, or swales, adjacent to sidewalks.

Prior to complaints, the city did not ban swale parking. However, in 2012 when it became known through the Internet that free parking was available in the area, beachgoers arrived in droves. At times more than 50 cars lined side streets.

Residents reported near traffic catastrophes with children entering the street between parked cars. Condominium residents could not check for clearance to pull out of driveways due to blocked vision. Trash and property damage became a problem, and residents reported losing real estate sales.

An ordinance approved by city council established no parking zones within 500 feet of beach access points. Council assigned a fine of $95 per violation.

"I would hate to see us go through the entire process again," said Jack Patterson who was chosen Friday to be chairman of the Planning Board. "I think common sense should prevail with homeowners allowed to contact police when they need to park on the swale."

Board members felt the parking ban needed additional discussion and asked for a workshop to reopen the issue.

In other business, the board asked Joe Irvin, city zoning administrator, the status of a proposed community redevelopment area and CRA funding for mid-town.

Irvin said the city had not moved forward with CRA boundaries, but instead was looking at a mid-town plan for future use of the area. Irvin was asked to describe the difference.

"A mid-town plan is more overreaching and broader than a CRA, including transportation, public space, public safety, and community character," he said. The CRA, he explained, is a funding mechanism for development.

The board heard one petition for vacation of a right-of-way owned by the city. Jay Houghtaling, better know as musician J Robert, asked the city to vacate a 20-feet by 60-feet area of land adjacent to his property. In return, Houghtaling agreed to give a 25-foot wide easement from his western property line to allow the city to rework a drainage area.

His petition was approved.

The Planning Board's next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday, March 1, in the Community Meeting Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive. A workshop date to discuss swales parking was not set at the meeting.

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Comments » 15

FECOYLE writes:

When the Council first proposed these two access ways they were told this would happen along with a lack of sanitary facilities at both locations but chose to ignore it. These decisions will haunt Marco for years to come

OldMarcoMan writes:

Maybe MICA can solve this problem?

naples_rocket writes:

in response to FECOYLE:

When the Council first proposed these two access ways they were told this would happen along with a lack of sanitary facilities at both locations but chose to ignore it. These decisions will haunt Marco for years to come

I don't think it's about ignoring the issue, it's about not wanting to spend any Marco taxpayer money. We all know that parking is an issue, but if you provide parking, you will sooner than later have to provide restrooms, trash cans, etc. maintain them. And none of the above is free.

MrBreeze writes:

How about just waiting until there is parking at the County lot that you pay for. Why does everthing need to be free to people who do not live here. I always paid to park in that lot. Sometimes I would wait up to an hour for someone to leave to get a space. I still use that lot with a County sticker and still wait for a space.

RayNetherwood writes:

Contact the city of Palm Beach .... not West Palm Beach.

They have residential parking decals, and it seems to work well for residents.

As for "parties" .... most condos have "guest" parking spots. For parties at homes, the decaled owner's cars get moved to the street and guests park in driveways. There probably needs to be the ability to get exemption permits on an individual basis.

We LOVE the decision that was made, don't kill it .... tweak it just a tad.

Pursuit writes:

The decision to ban parking was 100% correct When there was row after row of car's on the swale's the beach at the south end was actually overcrowdwd The street area now look's great with green swale's & no litter the council should realize that property values and the abilty to sell a home with the transient parking is greatly reduced Leave it alone it is working great

2themoon writes:

Build a flipping parking garage already....geez this aint rocket science.

MrBreeze writes:

Sure let's build a parking garage. Bring in the hot dog stand, tee shirt rack, and the guy panhandling with bongo drums and a horn. Right, a parking garage 10 stories tall so we can become the tourist trap we so want to become.

2themoon writes:

in response to MrBreeze:

Sure let's build a parking garage. Bring in the hot dog stand, tee shirt rack, and the guy panhandling with bongo drums and a horn. Right, a parking garage 10 stories tall so we can become the tourist trap we so want to become.

WTF? 10 stories? Panhandling?? Panaranoid old geezers ruin this place. Im not for making Marco a tourist trap, in fact i stand with the homeowner/ condo owners on Marco but come on.. A tastful well designed garage 3 stories or so high. Puts all the vehicles in one controlled area and can be an income generator to help pay for the construction, upkeep and security of the unit.
We can pass a city ordinance to shoot on site any hot dog vendors who dare tresspass near the new Mike Minozzi parking complex.

2themoon writes:

Eeerr excuse me... The Monte Lazarus parking complex...

MrBreeze writes:

2themoon. I am not old. I am not retired. I live in a modern city. I see what development brings.
First, it brings people. Next, it brings the problems more people in one area bring. Trash, crime,other people who want to make profit from the influx of people. So sit back and think about your little harmless parking garage and think about how many more people after it is posted on internet sites how simple it is to go to Marco Island south beech. Furthermore, where exactly is the property for this three story parking garage. Why not throw in a shuttle bus why you are at it.

Do you still want a parking garage?

2themoon writes:

I see two large parking lots that are currently being used for south beach parking. We can build an airstrip and a helio pad on the roof to shuttle in the gangs of beach going thugs who invade our island paradise trying spend a day at the beach.

MrBreeze writes:

Moon, I am not attacking you personally. Your concept would be great but as most things today the piece of the puzzle is people. I am sure most people would love to park and go to the beech. I do. The trouble I see is what if it goes wrong and becomes trouble. Why start it in the first place. The lots are limited, people either wait, pay, or leave to the other end. I myself like most people like the South end it is the best part of the beech. I think control and limited parking mean just that "limited" it just keeps things balanced.

I respect your position and thank you for not wanting to make the island a tourist trap.

MrBreeze writes:

Moon, the old saying "build it and they will come".

Now throw in social media with internet contact and then see what you have.

BronxGal writes:

Why didn't any of these homwowners show up at the Council meeting to voice their concerns ??
If this is a problem ,why no letters in the Eagle or Sun Times ??

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