MARCO ISLAND — With two agenda items, Marco Island's Planning Board completed business Friday in a record 26 minutes.
Nancy Richie, city environmental specialist, reported on efforts to make beachfront hotels, restaurants and vendors accountable for beach litter. Offending trash included disposable plastic lids, cups and straws.
A push for better education came after an earlier report by Richie letting the board know non-paid beach stewards and volunteer clean-up crews were collecting thousands of discarded plastic items on the beach.
Richie praised beach businesses for addressing the issue and assured the board trash had been reduced to only a few pieces per day. She said businesses were reminding their employees to clean up with slogans such as "Every day is Earth Day" and "See a cup, pick it up."
The board heard a petition from Jerry Harmeyer of 1248 Orange Court asking for a 5-foot extension to an existing finger dock. The dock was approved by Collier County's Planning Commission prior to Marco Island becoming a city.
The extension was requested to allow safe access when entering the owner's boat. The left side of the finger dock extends 48 feet into Factory Bay. The paralleling right side is shorter. The 5-foot addition to the right side will make both extensions equal length, said Joe Irvin, city zoning administrator.
City Attorney Burt Saunders told the board the original resolution for the dock's length was grandfathered at the time of cityhood. The board approved by a 5-0 vote to grant a resolution providing for the extension. Board members David Caruso and Max Peterhans were not present.
Jack Patterson of the board asked to set the record straight regarding Jim Timmerman's criticism of recent joint meetings between the Planning Board and Waterways Advisory Committee. Timmerman suggested waterway committee members were not allowed to fully participate in drawing up an ordinance for city council on use of vacant lots for seawall fabrication and dock construction.
"The meetings were fair and open and spoke to how well this board was run," said Monte Lazarus of the Planning Board. "Timmerman said the waterways committee was snubbed, but we are the board responsible for taking recommendations up to city council."
The Planning Board was asked by city council to prepare the document with input from the waterways committee. Waterways committee members did not vote on what ordinance moved forward.
City Attorney Saunders told the board the vote was conducted properly and done as directed. The Planning Board was told to work with the waterways committee and then make recommendations to council, he said.
Marv Needles expressed frustration with the city's lack of compliance with Planning Board decisions.
"The business I'm in takes me around the community frequently. We make decisions that we hope will be for the betterment of this community," he said. "Code enforcement is lacking. Why pass ordinances if they will not be enforced? I could ride around and find 10-20 infractions in one day."
During community discussion, City Council Chairman Joe Batte thanked the Planning Board for its service.
"You bring a wealth of experience to the council and help us make good decisions," he said. All Planning Board members' terms expire at the end on January. Some sitting members may be reappointed if selected by city councilors.
Another session of the current Planning Board is scheduled on the city's calendar for Jan. 14, but the board does not plan to meet unless necessary.