Much has been written and commented upon in recent weeks regarding the Marco Island Civic Association (MICA) and the Deltona Corporation’s Deed Restrictions. Rather than rely on rumors, the MICA Board of Directors would like you to know the facts.
When the Mackle Brothers, as owners of the Deltona Corporation, purchased and developed most of Marco Island, they placed deed restrictions on these properties. The Mackle Brothers created a master plan for Marco Island. They laid out areas for single-family homes, multi-family residential, and areas for commercial use. They went so far as to specify uses for particular pieces of land. They also donated land for specific uses, such as churches, hospitals, schools, parks, and marinas, etc. The Deltona Corporation created the deed restrictions to protect the integrity of the island and to assure conformity of all construction and setbacks in those geographical areas covered by the restrictions.
In 1986 Deltona, as the owner, subdivider and developer of Marco Island, assigned MICA all the subdivider’s rights to enforce the deed restrictions on Marco Island. MICA has been actively serving the residents of our island informally since 1968 and formally since 1973. MICA has a 12 member volunteer board of directors which is elected by the members of the association. It is a job that board members accept and take seriously.
A condition of the turnover agreement was that MICA would form an Architectural Review Committee (ARC), which would act as an authority in the plan review process. The restrictions state that no new structure shall be constructed without a review of the design drawings and written approval by MICA. MICA’s ARC has met on a regular basis since 1986. MICA will review deed restrictions with any property owner, architect, or builder who has questions and will also help with the application.
Most property owners and builders are aware of the Deltona deed restrictions and 99 percent of construction plans are brought into the MICA office for ARC review without any prompting on MICA’s part. Recently a property owner knowingly chose not to bring plans into MICA’s ARC.
With regard to Marco Golf and Garden, we understand the confusion regarding the timeline and the perception that MICA waited until construction was finished and the operation was open. Nothing could be further from the truth. Beginning in December, well before the City of Marco Island issued its permit, and continuing until mid-January numerous attempts to speak with the property owner and builder were made and correspondence was sent to the property owner. A timeline for your review:
Weeks of Dec. 3, 10: MICA left telephone messages for Fred Kramer, property owner and registered agent for Donna DiPromessa, LLC. The calls were not returned by Kramer. MICA spoke to the builder several times who advised that Fred Kramer instructed him not to bring plans into MICA.
Dec. 18: MICA sent certified letter to Donna DiPromessa, LLC, requesting plans be submitted to MICA.
Dec. 28: City of Marco Island issued permit for Marco Golf & Garden.
Jan. 7: Letter sent to Fred Kramer, as owner and registered agent, giving opportunity to submit plans prior to lawsuit being filed, followed by emails urging compliance with deed restrictions.
Jan. 17: Lawsuit filed against Donna DiPromessa, LLC.
All attempts at compliance were ignored by the property owner and developer, Fred and Marianne Kramer of Donna DiPromessa, LLC, and as a last resort in January MICA was compelled to file a suit with the court which was our only legal course of action. We did not determine when the hearing would be held to hear the legal case. However, in June the court heard the arguments from both sides and concluded that the owner/developer was in violation of the requirement to submit construction plans and that the deed restrictions did not permit this use on the property. The owner was further ordered to cease and desist operations and within 60 days bring the property back to the condition it was in prior to construction. It should also be noted that Fred Kramer is a former MICA Board member and was MICA’s legal counsel.
What are deed restrictions?
n Deed restrictions are use and development restrictions placed on land by the original owner, Deltona.
n They are a matter of title, go with the land, and are recorded in county records.
n They stem from property rights rather than police powers, which are associated with a governmental body.
n They are enforceable in civil court.
n They vary from unit to unit on Marco, and often from lot-to-lot within a unit.
n They may or may not be changeable depending on how they are written.
n They are enforceable by owners within the particular set of restrictions.
n They are also enforceable by the developer or his assignee, MICA.
n They are created to enhance the value of the property and to protect each subsequent owner from adjacent development.
n Deed restrictions exist in addition to any zoning codes, building codes, development codes, etc.
Deed restrictions are recorded in the Public Records of Collier County just like liens, judgments, claims, assessments, and other matters, and are not on your deed. When individuals and corporations buy a property on Marco Island, their attorney will typically order a title search. A title search will supply the property owner with a copy of the Deltona Deed Restrictions specific to the property.
Deed restrictions are a private contract and cannot be enforced by municipalities. The Deltona Corporation did this by design so the deed restrictions could not to be changed at the whim of a political force at any particular time.
For instance, the City of Marco Island and Collier County have rezoned residential properties to commercial. At the same time, the properties were still deed restricted as single family. Case in point: Mazzini properties on San Marco Road, east of Bald Eagle, and adjoining properties on Tahiti Road. MICA took this to court and prevailed, thereby protecting the sanctity of the single family neighborhood. The residents of Tahiti Road were ecstatic when MICA successfully prevented commercialism from creeping onto their residential street.
Deed restriction setbacks and uses may differ from the City of Marco Island’s zoning setbacks and uses, and in all cases property owners must meet the most stringent. Over the years MICA has continued to work with Collier County and the City of Marco Island to unify zoning and deed restrictions to help prevent confusion.
The Deltona deed restrictions protect us all, single family, multi-family and commercial properties. Those protections go with the property and not the political winds or the pressure from well-funded developers seeking to maximize profits and leave behind issues and problems we’ll have to fix later.