Marco miniature golf course shut down, owners vow appeal

Roger LaLonde Staff
The Ward family of Raleigh, N.C., enjoys a round of golf at the Marco Golf & Garden miniature golf course on Marco Island. Collier Circuit Judge Hugh Hayes has lifted a portion of an order that required the owners to rip it out within 60 days.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE // Buy this photo

Roger LaLonde Staff The Ward family of Raleigh, N.C., enjoys a round of golf at the Marco Golf & Garden miniature golf course on Marco Island. Collier Circuit Judge Hugh Hayes has lifted a portion of an order that required the owners to rip it out within 60 days.

The closed sign tells visitors to the Marco Golf & Garden miniature golf course there will be no golf today.

Golf sometime in the future? Depends on whom you ask.

Collier Circuit Judge Hugh Hayes on Wednesday ordered Fred and Marianne Tirri Kramer’s company, Donna Di Promessa, to immediately cease operations, giving them 60 days to remove the 18-hole miniature golf course and to restore the Winterberry Drive property to its former state.

But they don’t plan on ripping up the course and botanical gardens.

In a press release sent Monday to customers and supporters, Marco Golf & Garden said it would ask Hayes for a rehearing and file an appeal.

The company, managed by Fred Kramer, also plans to ask Hayes for a stay to stop the course from “being destroyed and the gardens leveled.”

“First, we maintain that the Deltona deed restrictions were extinguished years ago and (the Marco Island Civic Association) has no right to try to enforce them,” the press release says, also accusing the Marco Island Civic Association (MICA) of wrongfully collecting “possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars” in architectural approval fees. “As to our miniature golf course, it will reopen. The only question is when.”

Kramer declined to comment and his attorney, Bill Hazzard, is out of town. Attorney Jeff Fridkin, who represents MICA, which sued Donna Di Promessa in January, could not be reached for comment.

Marco Golf and Garden has 10 days from the June 26 ruling to file a motion for reconsideration or a notice of appeal with the District Court of Appeal in Lakeland. If it seeks reconsideration, it will have more time to appeal.

MICA plans to defend its land restrictions, which govern the Marco Beach unit blocks and commercial areas.

“The MICA board knows that Judge Hayes ruled correctly, that the violation of the deed restrictions did occur and must stop,” said Ruth McCann, MICA’s executive director. “MICA is fully prepared to defend the ruling.”

The dispute centers on old Deltona Corp. land restrictions, which date back to the 1970s and are renewed every 10 years. The Deltona Corp. were the original developers of Marco Island.

But county records show a majority of the 15 lot owners governed by the restrictions just voted to cancel them as of January 2014. Eight property owners agreed — and Marianne Tirri Kramer had five of those votes as the owner of lots 11 through 15.

Like many developments overseen by homeowner associations, much of Marco Island is a deed-restricted community governed by MICA. In 1986, it took over the Deltona Corp. deed restrictions, which were intended to protect the island’s integrity, preserve property values and ensure new construction conformed to the original 1965 restrictions.

Kramer, a Marco Island lawyer, has represented MICA in past deed restriction battles, but his law firm’s website shows he disagrees with MICA upholding the restrictions, contending they can’t be enforced due to the Florida Marketable Record Title Act, a 1963 law that legislatively abolished certain stale recorded claims — those that are 30 years old or older — affecting real property.

Although the Kramers’ golf course was approved by the Planning Board, despite opposition by 74 residents, it never received MICA approval, so MICA was granted a permanent injunction to shut it down.

Hayes pointed out Donna Di Promessa knew about the restrictions, which prohibit a mini golf course, before beginning construction in December and was twice warned to cease.

Hayes denied that the Florida Marketable Record Title Act wiped out the restrictions and ruled Donna Di Promessa had no right to seek compensation for being forced to tear up the course, but MICA was entitled to compensation for its legal costs. He warned that if the property isn’t fully restored within 60 days, MICA could enter it to remove the course and restore the land.

Ron and Julia Smith’s plans for a course next to Veterans’ Community Park and McDonald’s were approved the same day as Kramer’s plans, but they abandoned their course after Kramer’s was approved. They said they haven’t yet made a decision on whether to proceed.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 35

WMissow writes:

Klaus,

Does anybody want a lawyer who might have thought he was above the law?

mahiman writes:

The island deeds were set up a certain way and MICA is justified to govern them. Kramer is wrong and arrogant. Whether it's mini-golf or a nudy bar...MICA will protect the interest of the island citizens. Thank you MICA!

Pursuit writes:

MICA has rules and procedures to legally protect the ambience of this small community. They have done and continue to do a great service to protect the interest's of the resident's who chose to live here. Most chose to be here as Marco offered a haven away from commercial glitter
Mr Kramer chose to not comply with the procdure's layed out by the original concept of a residential community He will now have to deal with his arrogance.
Although he did a beautiful job with his creation it set's a precedence for future encroachment of Beach town type venture's
Sorry but that not what most Marco taxpayer's want & that is why MICA is so important to this Island

Northerner writes:

MICA is the law and the law should be upheld! GO MICA!

MrBreeze writes:

I agree, Benjaron you have it right. If this is allowed and MICA was to lose this would clear the way for the "remake" of Marco Island which would be bad for most.

26yearsonmarco writes:

After 85 comments on the last Putt Putt story, and 5 so far on this one, can we please Forgetaboutit, and start to focus on real things that are happening in this World such as this story:

http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/06/3...

ajm3s writes:

"Like many developments overseen by homeowner associations, much of Marco Island is a deed-restricted community governed by MICA. In 1986, it took over the Deltona Corp. deed restrictions, which were intended to protect the island’s integrity, preserve property values and ensure new construction conformed to the original 1965 restrictions."

There are some that would like to dismiss MICA, but there exists disparities between the city of Marco Island and MICA deed restrictions. If you think this putt putt is a small issue, then watch out for the Midtown District, as the city rolls out its "vision"

Speaking of "vision", how is the city plan (actually whipsaw plan) for density transfer working out. Remember the city allowed increase density near Veterans Park, when in fact in 2007 the city protected the area by destroying density credit transfer as a result of the Glon property purchase.

Folks, there really is no city plan other than to accentuate taxable revenue to the detriment of quality.

WMissow writes:

You can bet none of this would happen in any of the councilor's back yards as per when, I think it was Arceri stood up and complained about the possible, sea wall construction site across from his house. NOT IN MY BACKYARD!

OldMarcoMan writes:

Nudy Putt Putt ? Oh sorry I wasn't paying attention , Hey that qualifies me for City Council.

WMissow writes:

Old,

Is that for "old timers"?

marcosandflea writes:

Yes, MICA is the law and is there to uphold the law and the deed restrictions. Right - just like when they ignored the illegal crushing of asbestos (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when they ignored the millions of gallons of toxic acid that was dumped into the waterways (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when plumes of lethal gas was covering neighborhoods (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when the STRP cost $400m and tore up the city without a vote (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like their illegal restriction to beach access (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like how lift stations were installed curiously not on the city managers or city public works director plethora of properties (guess that doesn't violate the law)- just like esplanade and towne centre and Marriott expansion and beach restriction (guess that doesn't violate the law) ... infested by the syndicate whatever does not go along with syndicate plans (such as the water plant and deep injection wells that are causing the red tide) then they will fight and fight and fight!

WMissow writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

City council is responsible to carry out the law of the land in its decisions. If they do not they too, have to deal with the ramifications of not doing so.

Yes, I believe I am in America not a country with a dictatorship and then again..........

2themoon writes:

in response to marcosandflea:

Yes, MICA is the law and is there to uphold the law and the deed restrictions. Right - just like when they ignored the illegal crushing of asbestos (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when they ignored the millions of gallons of toxic acid that was dumped into the waterways (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when plumes of lethal gas was covering neighborhoods (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when the STRP cost $400m and tore up the city without a vote (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like their illegal restriction to beach access (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like how lift stations were installed curiously not on the city managers or city public works director plethora of properties (guess that doesn't violate the law)- just like esplanade and towne centre and Marriott expansion and beach restriction (guess that doesn't violate the law) ... infested by the syndicate whatever does not go along with syndicate plans (such as the water plant and deep injection wells that are causing the red tide) then they will fight and fight and fight!

Someone who actually knows what going on. Good job flea!

LadueVGilleo writes:

in response to marcosandflea:

Yes, MICA is the law and is there to uphold the law and the deed restrictions. Right - just like when they ignored the illegal crushing of asbestos (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when they ignored the millions of gallons of toxic acid that was dumped into the waterways (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when plumes of lethal gas was covering neighborhoods (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like when the STRP cost $400m and tore up the city without a vote (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like their illegal restriction to beach access (guess that doesn't violate the law) - just like how lift stations were installed curiously not on the city managers or city public works director plethora of properties (guess that doesn't violate the law)- just like esplanade and towne centre and Marriott expansion and beach restriction (guess that doesn't violate the law) ... infested by the syndicate whatever does not go along with syndicate plans (such as the water plant and deep injection wells that are causing the red tide) then they will fight and fight and fight!

marcosandflea, MICA is responsible for enforcing the original Deltona deed restrictions. They are a non-profit organization, not a government agency responsible for protecting the public and enforcing local, county, state, and national laws. There are other government agencies with those responsibilities.

I must say that I am interested in the events you mention; do you have information that corroborates your claims? It is difficult to believe that all these events were taking place and laws were being broken right under our noses, and nothing was done.

WMissow writes:

Ladue, I am sorry to say that much of what marcoflea states is true. None of it, though, as you stated, takes away MICA's responsibility for doing the job they were set up to do.

2themoon writes:

LadueVGilleo wrote..
"It is difficult to believe that all these events were taking place and laws were being broken right under our noses, and nothing was done."

OUR noses??
I do believe LadueVGilleo is code for Ruth McCann..

LadueVGilleo writes:

in response to 2themoon:

LadueVGilleo wrote..
"It is difficult to believe that all these events were taking place and laws were being broken right under our noses, and nothing was done."

OUR noses??
I do believe LadueVGilleo is code for Ruth McCann..

You would be wrong. I'm not surprised.

2themoon writes:

LaRuthVmarco,
Are you that defensive over this issue that has you come on a lousy little blogsite like this one to defend MICA?
Why not use your real name if your so proud of your stance on the putt putt course?

LadueVGilleo writes:

All I've said is if the owners of the miniature golf course had sent their plans through MICA, none of this would have happened. MICA is what it is. They have job to do. I'm sure a lot of people don't like MICA; I'm sure a lot of people do like MICA. But if you have plans for something like a miniature golf course, then you need to deal with them. If you don't deal with them, them this is what happens. Life could be a lot simpler for people if they did what they are suppose to do.

I also read some incredible claims in this site; I try to see if people can back-up what they claim; 99% of the time they cannot, making their claims BS. Such is human nature.

Finally, I enjoy reading 2themoon's comments because they are so funny.

2themoon writes:

LaRuthVmarco,
Can you please shed some light on us fellow bloggers and tell us just where did you get the alias 'LaDueVGilleo?

2themoon writes:

To the members of MICA: have you ever sunk a putt that went under the windmill off the corner bricks into the cup?
Or a putt that just makes it past the witches broom only to find your ball in the promise land?..obviously not.
You dont know the joy you are missing..and the hearts you are breaking. .. ...

WMissow writes:

2themoon,

The items you mention are very nice and true.

Too bad the Kramers did not follow compliance with regulations thus causing this terrible loss for all of us to endure, because if they didn't build it this loss would not have occurred.

liberator100 writes:

It is time to abolish MICA. Marco Island is now a City governed by a City Council. This may be the landmark case that will take MICA down forever. Please support Fred in this case against anti-business dictatorial forces of MICA, an unelected body of condo-commandoes on streoids.

MarcoDefender writes:

in response to LadueVGilleo:

marcosandflea, MICA is responsible for enforcing the original Deltona deed restrictions. They are a non-profit organization, not a government agency responsible for protecting the public and enforcing local, county, state, and national laws. There are other government agencies with those responsibilities.

I must say that I am interested in the events you mention; do you have information that corroborates your claims? It is difficult to believe that all these events were taking place and laws were being broken right under our noses, and nothing was done.

Since when do NFP's (and other Non Government Organizations) have the ability to enact "law" as stated by some on this comment forum? Pretty far stretch of power!?

I predict it here and now...MICA's position of authority is in serious question, (highlighted by the well documented selective enforcement of various projects) and I expect that they will eventually lose what little (perceived) authority they have. It may have been appropriate for the 60's and 70's, but it's tired and now, with city hood, completely unnecessary. Eliminate the redundant, let's think of Marco's future and how to embrace it, while protecting it. Balance is possible, but we have to challenge ourselves to think objectively and not hold on to tradition for just the sake of tradition. I'm happy to pay the $160 per year, for beach access, and a concert once a year, but they are not elected representatives for our Island citizens.

-- DISCLAIMER - No Gopher Tortoises or Eagles were harmed in the drafting of this contribution.

MarcoDefender writes:

in response to Pursuit:

MICA has rules and procedures to legally protect the ambience of this small community. They have done and continue to do a great service to protect the interest's of the resident's who chose to live here. Most chose to be here as Marco offered a haven away from commercial glitter
Mr Kramer chose to not comply with the procdure's layed out by the original concept of a residential community He will now have to deal with his arrogance.
Although he did a beautiful job with his creation it set's a precedence for future encroachment of Beach town type venture's
Sorry but that not what most Marco taxpayer's want & that is why MICA is so important to this Island

Ben - Is a mini-golf place near the resort and hotel section an impact to our ambiance? Really? Is that what you mean when you write "commercial glitter"?

A small correction, one input (yours) here does not make a "majority of what taxpayers want in this scenario". If that were true, there would have been outrage when the City Council voted to approve the business. Since that didn't happen, evidence that your comment is unsupported. Heck, the City approved two mini-golf businesses.

True, I think both parties have culpability on matters to date, however, that doesn't make it right or appropriate to do a complete tear down, that's just silliness.

WMissow writes:

It is quite interesting how when deed restrictions are in one's favor, or, at most, perceived to be that way, some people fight tooth and nail over them no matter who is hurt by their efforts, but when they are not in their favor or in the not favor of their friends how their opinions change and how they try to minimize the necessity of such deed restrictions and go as far as wishing for them to be removed.

You can not have it both ways although some may wish for it to be that way!

WMissow writes:

Do I hear someone now saying that free enterprise should trump deed restrictions?

MrsT writes:

Just curious if the Mackle brothers and Deltona Corp had envisioned Marco Island becoming a city and having a city council and city officials. I don't understand why MICA wasn't dissolved after Marco Island became a city. Did the Deltona Corp think a private beach with membership dues part of keeping the ambience of the island? There is so little available for entertainment of the young and old. We will be losing the revenue Capt Brien brought to the city once the Comedy Club leaves. If the City Council approved the miniature golf course and it is in an area among other businesses what is the issue with MICA? Judge Hayes made a poor decision. Open up the Marco Golf and Gardens again. It seems ironic the course had to close right before the July 4th holiday that brings droves of people to our Island, just sayin'.

WMissow writes:

I am sure most of you have children and grand children, especially those who feel the Putt, Putt course should be allowed to re-open.

I was wondering how many of you have taught you children to take from the cookie jar and then ask if they can have a cookie?

The point is they knew the rules, they are not children and should have followed the rules first. How simple is that?

condoseller writes:

It is a shame the minature golf course won't be available to families over the 4th of July weekend; be they residents or visitors. MICA had every opportunity to petition the court during construction. Why wait until the course is open and enjoyed by our neighbors and visitors? It feels ill timed and mean spirited. Since my family is visiting it would have been nice to suggest they enjoy the minature course here on Marco. Instead, they will travel to Naples where I'm sure they will also dine. Their time and money could have been spent on this side of the Jolley Bridge.

LadueVGilleo writes:

in response to condoseller:

It is a shame the minature golf course won't be available to families over the 4th of July weekend; be they residents or visitors. MICA had every opportunity to petition the court during construction. Why wait until the course is open and enjoyed by our neighbors and visitors? It feels ill timed and mean spirited. Since my family is visiting it would have been nice to suggest they enjoy the minature course here on Marco. Instead, they will travel to Naples where I'm sure they will also dine. Their time and money could have been spent on this side of the Jolley Bridge.

Agreed; this is a shame. But in a previous article it was stated: “The property owners are responsible for bringing in the construction plans,” McCann said. “MICA contacted the Kramers through a letter and the builder several times, but no plans were given to MICA.”

The owners had the opportunity to avoid this situation; instead they shot themselves in the foot.

marcofriend writes:

in response to condoseller:

It is a shame the minature golf course won't be available to families over the 4th of July weekend; be they residents or visitors. MICA had every opportunity to petition the court during construction. Why wait until the course is open and enjoyed by our neighbors and visitors? It feels ill timed and mean spirited. Since my family is visiting it would have been nice to suggest they enjoy the minature course here on Marco. Instead, they will travel to Naples where I'm sure they will also dine. Their time and money could have been spent on this side of the Jolley Bridge.

Apparently you have not followed this issue very closely. The Kramer's were notified by MICA many times prior to start of building their golf course and many times during the building of it that they needed to address the deed restrictions. The court action was only necessary when the Kramer's refused. The timing of the court order was strictly up to the judge.
I too would like to see the golf course remain open, but Mr. Kramer wanted to dig his feet in and fight MICA and he is on the losing end. It is most interesting since he made money by defending MICA for the very action he has decided to fight.

WMissow writes:

Marcofriend,

Could you expand on your last sentence?

bondie writes:

A miniature golf course is an asset for Marco. As mentioned above, these visitors and locals as well need and like to eat out after a family or friend event such a miniature golf. This is a "win,win" situation for locals, visitors, restaurants, and other merchants throughout Marco Island. Howcome Mica doesn't see or want to see the benefits for Marco Island?

WMissow writes:

Maybe it is time to give up on explaining what deed restrictions mean. They are NOT set up by MICA. MICA's job is to enforce them. Like it or not, it is the LAW, not for MICA to break. The court will decide, in actuality it already has. Now it is up to the Kramers to get the decision overturned in a higher court. Good luck trying!

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