Letter to the Editor: Truth or consequences

Recently a Marco island property owner built a pitch-and-putt golf course on the island. The Marco Island Civic Association took the owner to court for failing to get it’s (MICA) permission to do this work. Many residents have made a concerted effort to remove MICA from it’s position as defender of property owners and have the golf course approved without conditions. Let’s take a look at the facts and the consequences of these actions.

MICA was officially appointed as the licensing authority for changes to the overall plan of the island as designed and built by the Deltona Corporation. The Mackle brothers wanted to ensure that their island would not be defaced or degraded by indiscriminate planning and construction in areas not intended for that use. MICA has operated without serious question in this capacity for many years, and the result is that our island looks the way Deltona wanted it to look. Any change in the structure of the MICA responsibility would cause irreparable damage to what we love about this island, it’s beauty, character, and of utmost importance, it’s value.

Let’s suppose there was no more MICA and the City Council could make alterations of the building codes for their constituents as they pleased. What would be built next to your home, a hamburger stand or garage? What would the value of your home and your peace and quiet be worth then? Property values would plummet. The owner of the golf course refused to cooperate with the duly-appointed authority, MICA, when asked, and then told that he must do this before building anything on that lot that was non-conforming. The actions of the owner were very ill-advised, according to the court decision that the property must be put back in it’s original condition before construction was performed at his expense.

I urge residents of this lovely island to re-evaluate their stand on this issue and put the blame where it belongs. We must have our island stay as it was intended and has been all these years. Let MICA do what it is charged to do and protect us from indiscriminate changes. Regarding taking away MICA’s controls of our island’s zoning structure, be careful what you ask for.

Dave Gardner

Marco Island

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Comments » 14

RayN writes:

Dave, well stated. Certainly don't want hamburger stands or garages in the middle of residential neighborhoods.

MICA has done a pretty good job in the past and Marco Island is a great place to live and visit.

There seems to be a great deal of confusion on MICA and deed restrictions. I would encourage anyone who seriously wants to opine should at least have read the restrictions and can speak to their contents.

When the Mackles and Deltona cut Marco Island loose, MICA took on their roles. That is, the power they had as the developers they passed on in the restrictions. In most cases, deed restrictions are much simpler, less in scope, and don't wind up with some type of an entity taking the developers role.

The restrictions we live under are powerful and visionary. They grant sub-dividers and MICA to make amendments when reason exists to do so. It's those same restrictions that enable MICA to review construction plans ... and like most things in civil or common law, there must be some semblance of "reasonableness" in what "men" and entities do, especially those with some public duty.

Right now MICA is not broken. It has done, more or less, what it is charged to do, and the local court's decision is no great surprise. Mr Kramer can appeal, but I think at this point that's premature or incorrect.

He now needs to do what he should have done. He needs to ask for an amendment to the restrictions to do some updating of the antiquated list of permitted businesses, and he needs to submit plans for review.

MICA, in turn should assess the merits of Mr Kramer's request for an amendment, and it should review the plans as it normally would.

This is what is reasonable. This is what the Mackles/Deltona intended. And, this isn't some unsupported position or secret meaning, it's right where it should be, in black and white for all to see. I can understand where the issue can polarize people, but what I can't understand is the lack of objectivity and a painful denial of what some thing really says.

To reasonableness and Liberty!

MarcoDefender writes:

Dave - No thanks, no re-evaluation needed. Other than the beach, MICA serves a redundant function to our city, which wasn't in existence when Deltona and MICA put the deed restrictions in place.

On the other hand, we could use a few more telegraph offices and haberdasheries on this island, and deed restrictions look favorable for that. WTH ?? That's clearly the sign that MICA and the deed restrictions are outdated. I challenge you to reconsider your stance on MICA.

Is the mini-golf hurting your property value and living experience? I didn't think so.

ajm3s writes:

in response to MarcoDefender:

Dave - No thanks, no re-evaluation needed. Other than the beach, MICA serves a redundant function to our city, which wasn't in existence when Deltona and MICA put the deed restrictions in place.

On the other hand, we could use a few more telegraph offices and haberdasheries on this island, and deed restrictions look favorable for that. WTH ?? That's clearly the sign that MICA and the deed restrictions are outdated. I challenge you to reconsider your stance on MICA.

Is the mini-golf hurting your property value and living experience? I didn't think so.

How about we reduce the amount of commercially zoned property? Bear in mind, when Marco Island was originally laid out there were an additional 6000, yes 6000 single family homes' destined for development along San Marco Road. But this was stopped by the Army Corps of Engineers during the 70's under the direction of strong environmental sentiments.

Now I ask, should we not have reduced the size of commercial land zoned a commensurate amount to match the reduction of residences envisioned.

Now let's march forward to the present to the drumbeat of development of commercial property, i.e allow hotels or mixed use zoning in the Midtown District through recent passage of density transfer credit ordinance to increase density in the Midtown District.

Folks, pay attention, the city is willing to revise and pass ordinances that a mere 7 years earlier were in direct opposition to increase density. Just review the Glon property purchase to create Veterans Park and disposal of density transfer credits.

If this city had a real long term plan it would NOT renege on previous council decisions to not allow transfer of unused density credits.

On August 2nd, before the Planning Board, the folks will be hearing from another zoning change. The Marriott will unveil a plan to build a 4 story facility on the east side of Collier and essentially renege on an agreement set in the form of a PUD signed by all parties to prevent to limit such an expansion.

I wish the only major zoning issue was putt-putt, but this is just the beginning. The onslaught is unrelenting.

RayN writes:

Ahhh, an oasis in the desert. Thanks MD.

There's added irony in this particular little skirmish. Not only does the PuttPutt NOT detract from property values, it probably adds a smidge. To hear people say: looks great, family and friends would like the additional thing to do, or I've played it and had fun .... and then mutter "MICA restrictions" in the next breath without knowing what those restrictions say, is simply amazing.
And, the course actually adds to the tax base, and employs people. We've met the enemy ....... it's fear itself and a little lack of knowledge -- an enemy that WE can defeat.

RayN writes:

Aj: Putt Putt doesn't appear to be a zoning issue; and I can't imagine anyone building a residence between a restaurant and a church. The three small commercially zoned lots by Sasso's are probably best left that way.

If the Putt Putt is apples and the Marriott project is oranges, my thoughts are our focus needs to be on the oranges.

My hope is that those Marco leaders and citizens who serve as our collective memory and link to the past, hold the line on this. Where there's a personal belief that the Marriott is one of the more beautiful resort properties in the world, I can also see that the Marriott's desire for growth would lessen it and turn that section of Collier into something awkward if not ugly.

This may need to be the line in the sand.

marcofriend writes:

in response to ajm3s:

How about we reduce the amount of commercially zoned property? Bear in mind, when Marco Island was originally laid out there were an additional 6000, yes 6000 single family homes' destined for development along San Marco Road. But this was stopped by the Army Corps of Engineers during the 70's under the direction of strong environmental sentiments.

Now I ask, should we not have reduced the size of commercial land zoned a commensurate amount to match the reduction of residences envisioned.

Now let's march forward to the present to the drumbeat of development of commercial property, i.e allow hotels or mixed use zoning in the Midtown District through recent passage of density transfer credit ordinance to increase density in the Midtown District.

Folks, pay attention, the city is willing to revise and pass ordinances that a mere 7 years earlier were in direct opposition to increase density. Just review the Glon property purchase to create Veterans Park and disposal of density transfer credits.

If this city had a real long term plan it would NOT renege on previous council decisions to not allow transfer of unused density credits.

On August 2nd, before the Planning Board, the folks will be hearing from another zoning change. The Marriott will unveil a plan to build a 4 story facility on the east side of Collier and essentially renege on an agreement set in the form of a PUD signed by all parties to prevent to limit such an expansion.

I wish the only major zoning issue was putt-putt, but this is just the beginning. The onslaught is unrelenting.

While most of what you have said is correct, the Marriott's presentation on August 2 does not include a 4 story facility on the East side of Collier. That was the plan they presented a couple of years ago and they learned that the community would not support that idea. I'm not promoting anything for the Marriott, but a certain article in a local paper was less than clear when explaining what they "old" plan was verses the "new" plan. If the Marriott can build or rebuild on their existing footprint on the West side of Collier and only want a 2 story enclosed parking facility on the East side that will not block the residents view behind this facility, it is worthwhile listening to. It is all called compromise, but we as citizens need to be informed and not led down a path by a few individuals with private agendas.

RayN writes:

Hear hear.

WMissow writes:

Strange bedfellows appearing to be both supporting the putt, putt course and the Marriott. Is there, somehow, a connection?

WMissow writes:

I am quite pleased that Ray above states that there should be a line in the sand regarding this issue, but in some folks desire to dismantle MICA in almost the same breath who is going to stand up to Marriott when that becomes necessary. Our City Councilors??? We already saw the mess they made from the sewer project, Smokehouse Bridge etc. Yeah I know it was a different group then but some of their original supporters are still sitting there.

What I have said from the beginning be very careful for what you wish for. There could be something coming to your back yard or neighborhood that benefits an individual and hurts the majority.

ajm3s writes:

in response to RayN:

Aj: Putt Putt doesn't appear to be a zoning issue; and I can't imagine anyone building a residence between a restaurant and a church. The three small commercially zoned lots by Sasso's are probably best left that way.

If the Putt Putt is apples and the Marriott project is oranges, my thoughts are our focus needs to be on the oranges.

My hope is that those Marco leaders and citizens who serve as our collective memory and link to the past, hold the line on this. Where there's a personal belief that the Marriott is one of the more beautiful resort properties in the world, I can also see that the Marriott's desire for growth would lessen it and turn that section of Collier into something awkward if not ugly.

This may need to be the line in the sand.

You are correct and love your comments. Definitely raising the bar.

ajm3s writes:

in response to marcofriend:

While most of what you have said is correct, the Marriott's presentation on August 2 does not include a 4 story facility on the East side of Collier. That was the plan they presented a couple of years ago and they learned that the community would not support that idea. I'm not promoting anything for the Marriott, but a certain article in a local paper was less than clear when explaining what they "old" plan was verses the "new" plan. If the Marriott can build or rebuild on their existing footprint on the West side of Collier and only want a 2 story enclosed parking facility on the East side that will not block the residents view behind this facility, it is worthwhile listening to. It is all called compromise, but we as citizens need to be informed and not led down a path by a few individuals with private agendas.

Appreciate the update, but that is not what I consider a compromise. Why? because the limits that were placed in 2001 and amendment to 2008 limited growth/intensity in a specific area, that in my opinion will impact the island. In fact, the parties agreed to meed such limitations while granting the Marriott the Madeira (I may need to confirm).

There will always be tremendous market pressure to develop and concentrate along the beach front. To that end there will always be more traffic associated with a portion of the island that the market will push to its extremes and benefit. The only thing in its way is quite frankly, residents who spend a fair amount of time (including snow birds) actually living on the island.

To be clear: the City will be on the side of development, the tax revenue is just too much to throw away!!!!! Now we have to see who is working on whose behalf. Remember, the city always claims to be here for YOUR benefit.

Be informed, because the market shakers are very informed and residents need to be advised. Unless of course, if the residents like the proposal.

But bear in mind, how many times will the Marriott or others come before the Planning Board to make changes. I know change is inevitable, but I find the most exclusive areas in resort communities are generally not the most expansive.

What I find really ironic, Mr. Rick Medwedeff, the Marriott’s general manager,came before the Planning Board, as a manager of the Madeiria, last spring to complain of drop-off of beachgoers in front of the Madeira; creating a safety hazard on Collier Blvd.

Now, consider the city allowed higher height restrictions for Chrystal Shores (a Marriott property) while the city recognized parking problems at South Beach. I guess Marriott got a good deal at the expense of the city. Is Marriott going for a trifecta while the city still cannot address Madeira's complaint to the city that visitors are dropped off beach-goers on Collier.

My view: the Madeira, Chrystal Shores, Marriott, all want more and ask for zoning changes, while the city which grants such requests cannot address the problems which arise that could easily have been solved if the Marriott allowed public parking for beach goers.

Now we all know that will never happen!!!! The land is just too valuable to waste on parking.

Is this really a small tropical town? Can someone please remind the Planning Board of its mission statement. History has shown the city cannot negotiate for the benefit of residents with the Marriott for beach access and parking, which the residents claim as a major problem.

So we want a convention center? Parking is the key. If you allow for increase parking you will only get more.......ironically more parking problems for those not going to the convention center.

marcofriend writes:

ajm3s,
I appreciate your insights and your common sense approach. My "compromise" statement was not meant as a pro or con statement as I also agree that the Marriott (Mass Mutual) has gotten much from Marco Island. I just didn't want misinformation stated (such as the bridge over Collier Blvd and a 4 story facility being built) to influence the debate when those statements are not accurate.

Hopefully our Planning Board and City Council will vet this issue thoroughly so that the residents of Marco are not squeezed further.

ajm3s writes:

in response to marcofriend:

ajm3s,
I appreciate your insights and your common sense approach. My "compromise" statement was not meant as a pro or con statement as I also agree that the Marriott (Mass Mutual) has gotten much from Marco Island. I just didn't want misinformation stated (such as the bridge over Collier Blvd and a 4 story facility being built) to influence the debate when those statements are not accurate.

Hopefully our Planning Board and City Council will vet this issue thoroughly so that the residents of Marco are not squeezed further.

Agreed, but I am very very leery of changes to PUD's when the language was very clear in 2001.

Page 15 of agreement clearly states:

"In no case, shall above grade buildings or elevated structures, including parking structures be permitted on the east side of Collier Boulevard, other than elevated tennis courts as provided in Section 4.19(b) o this PUD."

http://www.cityofmarcoisland.com/modu...

And I expect, those that are more informed will keep me on the straight and narrow....and caution me when I get ahead of myself.

But this is a BIG deal and quite frankly this is just more commercial creep while the city pretends it can revitalize the Midtown District by offering incentives like density transfers to further diminish the quality on this island.

Again, appreciate comments by others, and especially yours.

Konfuzius writes:

Despite MICA Marco Island is still a paradise.

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