Letter to the Editor: To fight and argue over deed restrictions and legal protocol is ridiculous

I have been reading many of the letters and comments that have been submitted regarding Marco Golf and Garden. I am astounded and infuriated when I read the personal attacks on Fred and Marianne Kramer. The Kramers are a class act for Marco Island. Since Marco Golf and Garden opened for business on April 6, the Kramers have been more than generous in donating gifts to several Marco Island organizations and their members. I can personally thank them for their gifts to the Newcomers Club of which I am a member. They held a fundraiser for the Optimist Club which raises money to promote youth sports on our beautiful island. Marco Golf and Garden was a sponsor for the Marco Island Half Marathon and the recent Color 5K at Mackle Park. I was looking forward to hosting a breast cancer awareness event in October at the putt putt course for Beach Friends Forever, my Arts and Entertainment Group of the Newcomers Club.

It is my opinion that Marco Golf and Garden has done nothing but improve the quality of life here on Marco Island. The course provides opportunities for family fun and community activities. Think back on your life. Aren’t there some simple moments of fun and good times that you can remember from your past, perhaps from as long ago as your childhood? Cherished memories are created in fun moments at places like Marco Golf and Garden.

Life is short. We live in Paradise. To fight and argue over deed restrictions and legal protocol is ridiculous. In my opinion, this whole fight that is going on is like something you would see on an episode of “Seinfeld” or “Saturday Night Live.” We’re talking about a putt putt course! This is absurd!

The presence of Marco Golf and Garden proves that we need to look beyond the limited rules of a civic association and use our minds and hearts to determine what is right for Marco Island. That little golf course does nothing but create beauty and joy. I have read some comments and complaints about the noise that is created by the course. I would love to know what noise you are hearing. Is it laughter? All I have ever heard at that course is the sound of people having fun.

I thank Fred and Marianne Kramer for creating this beautiful park on Marco Island. They should hold their heads high and be proud! I look forward to the day when Marco Golf and Garden reopens!

Maureen Chodaba

Marco Island

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Comments » 22

LadueVGilleo writes:

Fighting and arguing over deed restrictions and legal protocol is important. It is what has kept Marco Island what it is, for better or for worse. Without deed restrictions and legal protocol, Marco island would most certainly be worse and none of us would live here.

The owners made a decision to ignore deed restrictions and legal protocol. That was a mistake and it may cost them their golf business.

What is most unfortunate about this situation is that it was avoidable.

naples_rocket writes:

Yes, it is ridiculous to argue about this issue. Miniature golf received zoning approval, planning and building reviews and approvals from the City. MICA reached out and asked Kramers to bring in their plans for the ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW. Several times. City does not and has never had an architectural review board. Naples, Collier, and all the places I ever lived in do. There is no conflict or duplication in this matter between MICA and the City. I believe this is a win-win: MICA does this for a fee on individual basis, City does not have to spend tax money on this, hire staff and deal yet with another advisory board.
Dick Adams wrote an excellent letter for the Sun Times. This case is an exception, on 99.99 percent of the cases there are no issues. New building is built, plans are brought in for MICA's architectural review. City reviews consistency with building and planning codes. This is as simple as 2+2. Yet, Kramer purposely chose not to work with MICA. I believe if he brought in his plans for MICA's architectural review today and if they were approved he would be good to go. VERY SIMPLE!!!

RayN writes:

As they say … AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY.

MICA would like to present itself as some type of “moral authority” on Marco Island, and does so while dodging paying property taxes on some $15 million dollars of real estate that it owns … which in theory benefits its “members,” but at the expense of all Collier County residents who get to subsidize MICA’s facilities and operations they don’t get to use. In 2012, the Marco Island Country Club paid some $72,000 in property taxes, the Marco Island Yacht Club paid about $29,000 and in Naples, the Port Royal Beach Club paid some $66,000. MICA’s taxes for 2012 should have been about $185,000 and they paid “ZERO”, which means over the years they’ve ducked out on millions. So much for the “moral authority” smoke screen.

As a Libertarian, my general assertion is that governments at all levels have gotten too big, and that over taxation of individuals and corporations serves to stifle the economy. We need to shrink the size of government and reduce taxes, but I also believe in fairness and equal treatment ... user fees or minimal taxation without all sorts of waivers or exemptions for "special interests" ... would help insure that those receiving benefits also contribute to their costs.

Personally, as a member of MICA and as someone who lives fairly close to the putt-putt course and has actually played on it once, I think both MICA and Mr. Kramer deserve some time behind the woodshed. It would seem MICA’s nose is bent and asserts Mr. Kramer had the audacity to ignore them, which he may have; and, it seems Mr. Kramer sought to mediate with MICA following the filing of the suit, and that MICA refused that.

The matter obviously needs resolution, and the resolution is NOT tearing down the course.

RayN writes:

Here's my two cents after researching the matter. On page 229 of the deed restrictions, some five dozen possible types of businesses that can be put on Mr. Kramer’s lot are listed, to include: bicycle shops, private clubs (like in dry counties where one used to be able to buy a daily membership -- hint), pool rooms, bowling alleys, sporting good stores (they could sell putters and balls) ... and "telegraph stations" and "haberdasheries" ... the list is thus clearly dated/outmoded and really could not be all inclusive. Miniature golf course is not listed, but in my experience the back sides of bowling alleys are much louder than any miniature golf course.

Thus, it would seem to be an oversight or error. How is a miniature golf course markedly different from those businesses specifically listed? It wouldn’t be. This would be borne out by the language in the deed restrictions, on page 234, paragraph 16: "Additional Restriction" ... amend any of the restrictions ... where, in the opinion of the subdivider, great harm, injustice, or damage would result ... or where error, omission, or mistake has occurred in these restrictions ..."

Since the subdivider exists no more, MICA stands in its place. That's what MICA contends, so there is language which would seem to allow an owner to request the "subdivider" to amend the restrictions to remove things like “haberdasheries” or "telegraph stations" from the list and to add something like "miniature golf courses" or “internet café”.

Then, there are also the issues of the duration of the deed restrictions, which originally ran from January 1974 for thirty years; their automatic renewal; and the ability of a majority of lot or tract owners to change them in whole or in part. Finally, the Marco Island of the Mackle brothers, MICA, and the 1974 deed restrictions, is not the Marco Island of today. We now have a City, we now have zoning. It may be time for MICA’s quasi-governmental role to be reassessed.

I have no ax to grind with either party, but a resolution that benefits both parties is needed. I am willing to mediate the issue for MICA and Mr. Kramer, at no cost to either of them.

Ray Netherwood
Libertarian for Congress, US FL 19

lauralbi1 writes:

If these owners refuse to do what is required, there is another Miniature Golf Course ready to be built. I am certain they will do what is required with MICA and I am certain they will be as charitable as the Kramer's. I would rather see the Kramer's do what they have to in order to reopen. Let's hope they do
Ed Issler

marcobeachlover writes:

I appreciate what Ms. Chodaba has written and I agree that the site is beautiful and a wonderful enhancement to the area. I do think her perspective is limited though.

The generosity and civil-mindedness of the owners is not releveant to this discussion. Are we not a society of rules and laws that have to be followed? Can each of us decide what suits our own interests and ignore any proper authority that suggests otherwise?

When I built on Marco, it never occurred to me to ignore the mandated MICA approval process. Did any of you do otherwise?

OU8124me writes:

All attempts at compliance were ignored by the property owner and developer. Fred Kramer is a former MICA Board member and was MICA's legal counsel.He should have known better. Thank God for The Deltona Deed Restrictions protect us all and the fine work done by MICA.

WMissow writes:

You can rant and rave and do all the name calling you wish.

The truth of the matter is that the Kramers had a chance to do the right thing, BEFORE, they went ahead and spent the funds that they did.

They took a gamble, chose not to follow the EXISTING rules, which are what they are, whether you agree with them or not and are getting their hands slapped quite severely, as they should, for thinking MICA was going to look the other way.

All of our "opinions" and any of these petitions which are going around, mean a hill of beans.

If anybody believes that the Kramers built this course to make the island appear better are, in my opinion, way off base. They built the course to "Make More Money'. Sorry folks there is no Santa Klaus!.

The Law will prevail and life will go on.

RayN writes:

Well, WM, let's just hope that you're 100% wrong. And, the petitions do amount to a hill of beans, because at some point if a majority of members think the Board of Directors is voting contrary to their wishes, they may wind up getting sued as a Board and individually.

"The Law" doesn't support fiefdoms, it supports valid actions not playing ostrich. It worked against Kramer ... it can also work against the MICA Board.

WMissow writes:

Ray,

The Law DOES support deed restrictions which already has been determined by Judge Hayes.

Since we are talking about deed restrictions and not just "hope" by an interest group, such as the ones with the petitions, I will go along with the wording of the law and not a layman's opinion of such.

Klaus, settle down and make some sense, please!

RayN writes:

WM, please see the above recitation from the deed language. We're talking about a modification to the language, not ignoring what presently exists. So, you're beating on a drum, but the wrong one. The question is not what the restrictions are "right now". The question is can the MICA Board alter the restrictions? It's a simple "yes" or "no". The answer is YES.

WMissow writes:

I may be incorrect and unless I am posting to a person who is a professional regarding deed restrictions I believe you, too, are off base.

Deed restrictions can not be changed willy nilly by MICA. MICA's job is to enforce the restrictions which then, if necessary, leads to the courts to make changes as they see fit.

I do not believe that MICA has the authority to change deed restrictions.

It is not a simple Yes or No by a layman.

captnjimbo writes:

I just read the letter from MICA on the issue. Wmissow did not miss on this. Kramer will either work out a deal or this location gets scrapped and scraped. Too bad, but it is what it is and long term thinkers will appreciate the wisdom of Deltona and if MICA budges they are not meeting their obligation. Read their letter if you can get it.

RayN writes:

Last time I checked, English worked the same way, whether a lay person or "professional". The deed's language today is the same as it was in 1974. We'll see soon enough. May want to re-read the post above, the language is from the actual deed ... not some self-serving "letter".

WMissow writes:

Ray, I am sure that you know why judges are there in order to interpret the law.

Assertions, opinions from a layman, no matter from whom, are nothing more than such.

We have already had a judge decide on this issue and the Kramers wish to challenge that decision, which is their right under the law.

I have also read the recent letter sent out by MICA.

At this point in time I think MICA did what they were supposed to do from last December which appeared to be ignored by the Kramers every step of the way. Did the Kramers not know how to read "English"?

We are both right about something which is this issue has not yet seen its end. Stay tuned!

26yearsonmarco writes:

I’m getting sooooo tired of reading and hearing about this Putt Putt issue while many of our poor Owls and Turtles are running out of places to live because so many vacant lots are being built on by Ungrateful Humans who could care less about them.

Like I said before, return the Human Putt Putt course back to a vacant lot, let the weeds grow, and deed it as a Section 8 Housing Site for some poor homeless Owls and Turtles.

bondie writes:

The rulings made by MICA are no longer relevant. The gardens and trees were a bonus to the property along with miniature golf park. The ruling of Mica is out of date to the current city that Marco has become. From all I have and the picture I saw of the property now is an asset and improvement. We cannot continue to build more houses without giving the prospective buyers and current residents a good reason to invest their money in a home here on the Island. The naysayers of this remind me of those who buy a property somewhere and then want to close the gate behind them. Please reconsider what a positive addition to attract visitors to Marco where they will spend money for restaurants, drug stores, supermarkets, clothing stores, souvenirs, gas stations, gift shops, and so on. The local residents will also gain by the income of revenue to keep the island pristine

LadueVGilleo writes:

in response to bondie:

The rulings made by MICA are no longer relevant. The gardens and trees were a bonus to the property along with miniature golf park. The ruling of Mica is out of date to the current city that Marco has become. From all I have and the picture I saw of the property now is an asset and improvement. We cannot continue to build more houses without giving the prospective buyers and current residents a good reason to invest their money in a home here on the Island. The naysayers of this remind me of those who buy a property somewhere and then want to close the gate behind them. Please reconsider what a positive addition to attract visitors to Marco where they will spend money for restaurants, drug stores, supermarkets, clothing stores, souvenirs, gas stations, gift shops, and so on. The local residents will also gain by the income of revenue to keep the island pristine

MICA doesn't make rulings; MICA enforces deed restrictions.

Prospective buyers and current residents will have a good reason to sell their homes and leave the island if businesses and others on Marco Island do not follow and adhere to laws and deeds already on the books.

If the owners had taken the correct and appropriate action, then this entire situation would have been avoided.

MarcoDefender writes:

in response to OU8124me:

All attempts at compliance were ignored by the property owner and developer. Fred Kramer is a former MICA Board member and was MICA's legal counsel.He should have known better. Thank God for The Deltona Deed Restrictions protect us all and the fine work done by MICA.

OU812 - OK, I expect all can agree, compliance was ignored by the owner.

But thank God, for what, protection from joy and a nice time with friends and family on the mini golf course? Why do we need protection from good family fun? Help me understand.

MarcoDefender writes:

in response to WMissow:

I may be incorrect and unless I am posting to a person who is a professional regarding deed restrictions I believe you, too, are off base.

Deed restrictions can not be changed willy nilly by MICA. MICA's job is to enforce the restrictions which then, if necessary, leads to the courts to make changes as they see fit.

I do not believe that MICA has the authority to change deed restrictions.

It is not a simple Yes or No by a layman.

Miss - Yes, you'd be wrong, MICA does have the power to change deed restrictions. The question is...do they have the courage and common sense to do so, since the mini-golf course doesn't appear to be a blight on our community? I hopeful, but not optimistic that MICA has the guts to do what's right.

26yearsonmarco writes:

I'm beginning to think no one gives a WHO-T about our poor and homeless OWL population.

happyINparadise writes:

I feel that Mrs. Chodaba would revoke her opinion about the Kramers at this point in time. Now that Marco Golf and Garden has been allowed to reopen, the Kramers have shown that they will stab their supporters in the back if they can indeed benefit by doing so. A lesson to all - be carefuul who you choose to support in the ongoings of this island. Unfortunately, sometimes you need to watch your back.

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