Marco Island Planning Board reviews live-aboard vessels, delays moving ahead with midtown public forums

Citizen complaining about boats like this one mooring close to homes in Smokehouse Bay brought about discussion Friday by Marco Island’s Planning Board on live-aboard vessel regulations. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Citizen complaining about boats like this one mooring close to homes in Smokehouse Bay brought about discussion Friday by Marco Island’s Planning Board on live-aboard vessel regulations. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Richard Shanahan, left, receives a proclamation Friday from the City of Marco Island for serving on the Planning Board. Bob Brown, vice chairman of the board, gave Shanahan the proclamation for his past service. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Richard Shanahan, left, receives a proclamation Friday from the City of Marco Island for serving on the Planning Board. Bob Brown, vice chairman of the board, gave Shanahan the proclamation for his past service. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

City staff members Lina Upham, left, Joe Irvin, Bryan Milk and Attorney Burt Saunders listen to Marco Island’s Planning Board Friday as they discuss plans for midtown renovations and redevelopment. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

City staff members Lina Upham, left, Joe Irvin, Bryan Milk and Attorney Burt Saunders listen to Marco Island’s Planning Board Friday as they discuss plans for midtown renovations and redevelopment. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Docks owned by the Winn-Dixie Supermarket are accessible to small craft traveling under the Smokehouse Bay Bridge and make it convenient for boaters to pick up groceries and supplies while anchored in Smokehouse Bay. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Docks owned by the Winn-Dixie Supermarket are accessible to small craft traveling under the Smokehouse Bay Bridge and make it convenient for boaters to pick up groceries and supplies while anchored in Smokehouse Bay. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Why boats are anchoring near the Esplanade or in Factory Bay is a question some residents want answered. On Friday, Marco Island’s Planning Board attempted to address their concerns.

A sailboat anchored in Smokehouse Bay may have a right to be there, said Lina Upham, community affairs planning and zoning technician, but is not permitted to be a live-aboard vessel. In fact, anchoring a live-aboard vessel is not permitted in any Marco Island waterway.

Confusion is exacerbated by definitions and jurisdictions. A live-aboard vessel is one that is used solely as a residence and not for navigation.

That means it has no engine or no means to move, Upham said.

It also could be owned by inhabitants who legally declare it to be a domicile or a stationary on-water business. They, too, fall under live-aboard status.

Boats capable of navigation, even if they have been moored for a period of time in the same place, do not automatically become live-aboard vessels.

There are only two exceptions to live-aboard locations in Marco’s waters, Upham explained. The first is a football field-sized area in Factory Bay designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a qualifying anchorage site. The other is within marinas.

State law prohibits Marco Island from regulating anchoring of non live-aboard vessels, Upham told Planning Board. These transient vessels often anchor in “safe harbors,” such as Smokehouse Bay, convenient to provisions and repairs and out of rough waters.

Marco can enforce sanitation regulations, safe navigation laws and noise ordinances, she said. It does not have the right to order transient vessels to be moved in a certain number of days.

Midtown and CRA funds

On the midtown plan, Joe Irvin presented a recap of discussions with past planning boards and city councils. To date, a preliminary plan has been drafted segmenting the midtown area into nine districts. Each sub-district offers opportunities for traffic control, parking, and development or redevelopment incentives, he said.

The midtown area includes Veteran’s Community Park, the Esplanade, Town Center and surrounding shopping plazas, East and West Elkcam circles and portions of Bald Eagle Drive to Rose (Marco River) Marina.

Using the city’s Comprehensive Plan for guidance, Irvin said the city hopes to enhance zoning language for land use within midtown. Future street improvements would include bike paths where possible. Parking would be located where it could do the most good, and alley right-of-ways would be improved for better use by businesses.

To move the process forward, Irvin proposed two public forums in late spring and summer for input on the midtown plan. Board members discouraged any meetings that fell outside the months seasonal residents were on the island.

The board also discussed using Community Redevelopment Area or CRA funds, a concept that was presented to the public in 2008 and rejected by city council. Board member Bill Trotter said the public was woefully misinformed about using CRA money, and at least one councilor he knew did not understand the benefits either.

Board members agreed that all facets of the midtown plan needed to be reviewed including the benefits and obligations of using CRA funds. However, they felt it was prudent to continue their conversation before public scrutiny.

The board voted 5-0 to recommend city council and planning board members move forward with discussions on the midtown plan including a review of all financing including CRA funds. Future public input would follow those discussions. Irv Povlow and Jack Patterson were absent from the meeting.

The next Planning Board meeting was scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday, April 5, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

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Comments » 19

captnjimbo writes:

Wife and I had a 42' trawler for years...would spend 5 months on the water, Lake Michigan,Lake Huron, North Channel, Georgian Bay...devided our time between slips and anchorages...always felt welcome, many times locals would come out to the boat to check it out and say hello. For someone traversing the Gulf Coast the bay off the Esplanade, even though it takes a while to get there is a perfect stop. The depth is perfect for an anchor at about 15 feet...takes about fifty feet of rode, it is protected from all sides, there is entertainment on Thursday night, several great restaurants, even Winn Dixie has a dock for boater provisions. Most people that are traveling like this have good means, running a boat like most I've seen is not cheap and bringing a few bucks to the local economy is part of the joy. Marco is a lovely water oriented boater's paradise and in my experience many villages like Marco welcome the traveling boater...it is the ones that never move, that blight the waterways that you want to be able to move along, and I think we have the means to do that.

nanbann writes:

Almost all live aboards are sailboaters and all sailors think since the air is free everything else should also be free. They want all the available amenities yet put nothing back into the community besides their garbage.

Pursuit writes:

Klaus is correct on this non issue

WizeOlMarco writes:

Why does the City seem intent on taking responsibility for providing parking to Marco Island businesses? Businesses have plenty of options, most obvious, purchase a vacant lot (or an improved property and remove the improvements) for their customer parking use. When business operations grow to exceed the capacity of the property (building and associated land area), expand by buying (or lease) adjacent property or relocate to another location. The City should not spend any money creating parking for local businesses (caveat, unless a City/public project eliminates a business parking). In all seasons I support local business and urge everyone do to do. I also support the independence of the City and community at-large.

WizeOlMarco writes:

P.S. "Board members agreed that all facets of the midtown plan needed to be reviewed including the benefits and obligations of using CRA funds. However, they felt it was prudent to continue their conversation before public scrutiny."

How about including the public in 'their conversation'?

JohninMarco writes:

Remember when the city tried to manage this issue before. It cost us money and court cost for that past stupidty.

gladesgator writes:

in response to WizeOlMarco:

Why does the City seem intent on taking responsibility for providing parking to Marco Island businesses? Businesses have plenty of options, most obvious, purchase a vacant lot (or an improved property and remove the improvements) for their customer parking use. When business operations grow to exceed the capacity of the property (building and associated land area), expand by buying (or lease) adjacent property or relocate to another location. The City should not spend any money creating parking for local businesses (caveat, unless a City/public project eliminates a business parking). In all seasons I support local business and urge everyone do to do. I also support the independence of the City and community at-large.

Apparently you have never run a business. Besides, what has this to do with boating and live aboards?

naples_rocket writes:

in response to WizeOlMarco:

Why does the City seem intent on taking responsibility for providing parking to Marco Island businesses? Businesses have plenty of options, most obvious, purchase a vacant lot (or an improved property and remove the improvements) for their customer parking use. When business operations grow to exceed the capacity of the property (building and associated land area), expand by buying (or lease) adjacent property or relocate to another location. The City should not spend any money creating parking for local businesses (caveat, unless a City/public project eliminates a business parking). In all seasons I support local business and urge everyone do to do. I also support the independence of the City and community at-large.

because it is City of Marco that approved (and still is, if I'm not mistaken) restaurant and other business expansions without requiring for additional parking.
But as we heard last night, City has never been run better.

WizeOlMarco writes:

in response to gladesgator:

Apparently you have never run a business. Besides, what has this to do with boating and live aboards?

Has nothing to do with boating and live aboards. Same news has 2 stories. Read the bottom half; is about the Marco Planning Commission. 'Running a business' may be your test, mine is being a resident taxpayer.

WizeOlMarco writes:

in response to naples_rocket:

because it is City of Marco that approved (and still is, if I'm not mistaken) restaurant and other business expansions without requiring for additional parking.
But as we heard last night, City has never been run better.

By your reasoning, a business that grows out of its space should expect the City to provide it with expansion area? Come on; the parking is the responsibility of the businesses, not the City. As I noted, the businesses have options. If a business can't individually afford to rent/buy additional property, multiple businesses could form a partnership and work together to get the added space. Maybe the City is included in the partnership, however the investments and costs associated with the new parking should be assessed to the businesses, not the City at-large. Parking projects, such as needed for Old Marco, is too narrow, not a public purpose.

WizeOlMarco writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Go to Old Marco Island. Than you can see what it means give restaurants permits with NO parking space at all.
The people were their first."

I agree, Old Marco has insufficient parking January thru March. It is business responsibility to fix, without City subsidy.

ajm3s writes:

"The board also discussed using Community Redevelopment Area or CRA funds, a concept that was presented to the public in 2008 and rejected by city council. Board member Bill Trotter said the public was woefully misinformed about using CRA money, and at least one councilor he knew did not understand the benefits either."

Disagree, I believe the public was well informed if they cared to listen! And those that spoke publicly, at least those in the area deemed to benefit from a CRA had concerns, in spite of all the information provided. In fact, I thought the auto shops in the "blighted zone" listened attentively and rejected the proposal.

Sometimes, some businesses do not wish to improve properties beyond that which is needed to increase sales or visibility. Unless, the city can offer businesses lower cost alternatives, why would they care.....unless it was about improving an asset to sell it at higher price. But now the higher price of assets to new owner would just increase the cost of service to consumers on the island. Is that not a current complaint, that residents do not use local vendors because of costs. And ask yourself, is the city really promoting a healthier business climate or simply higher property valuations for tax revenue?

Or will we use the benefits of a CRA to build parking garages for a pedestrian centric Midtown district for a community that is essentially attracts tourist because of its beach, and private full and part-time residences who enjoy boating, golfing and fishing or just plain good weather, with a plan laid out to include businesses to support a community.

Is this government trying to manage the hospitality industry by offering cheaper inland lots with higher density vs waterfront lots with unused density credits. Essentially, increasing density on Collier Blvd while simultaneously promoting "traffic calming devices" per the city's "Future of Midtown" presentation. Are we trying to increase traffic or reduce it?

And the toolkit includes: CRA/TIF and TDR (transfer of development rights). The result increase traffic, but reduce its impact.

But if you have the power than you can pretty much manage any program with improvements (or inconveniences) that increase density in an area that has an open park that eventually will serve as the performance arts venue.

I guess hotels alongside will add to the ambiance? Really, is this the plan, or are we just seeing if we can entice another hotel on an inlet lot on the island, since waterfront is too expensive.

May need more traffic signs for directions.

WizeOlMarco writes:

ajm3s, thanks for the interpretation, Marco Island's crossroad is not Bald Eagle & Collier Blvd, it is Growth & Resident Lifestyle. There are imperfect examples of places that adapt to growth without losing their closeness; Carmel CA, Mackinac Island MI, Teluride CO, Falmouth MA. A common thread to all these places, high levels of involvement by local residents and business. Marco Island has the potential to grow and still be the original residential-centric vision.

ajm3s writes:

in response to WizeOlMarco:

ajm3s, thanks for the interpretation, Marco Island's crossroad is not Bald Eagle & Collier Blvd, it is Growth & Resident Lifestyle. There are imperfect examples of places that adapt to growth without losing their closeness; Carmel CA, Mackinac Island MI, Teluride CO, Falmouth MA. A common thread to all these places, high levels of involvement by local residents and business. Marco Island has the potential to grow and still be the original residential-centric vision.

Wize:

Appreciate your comments and agree wholeheartedly, but I am truly confused as to the direction of this island as it attempts to mold specific districts given the highly planned character established in is development under Deltona Corp then transferred to MICA to now under the management of a city manager and elected council

Consider, as an example, Tract K. I watched this property considered as a site for a school, a recreational park, a solar power generating plant, to its current condition as a preservation area/eagle sanctuary in a lease agreement with the Collier County, the property holder and a non-profit citizens group wishing to preserve a nesting site. As a result, tourists now visit the site adding to the allure of this island.

Now, the city is attempting to entice hotel operations by passing an ordinance (11-05) to include the transfer of density credits to the Midtown District, to accommodate hotel operations inland.

The allure of Marco Island is the beach and weather it affords for outside activities, providing a quality for residents and tourists/visitors alike. Interestingly, the city felt the need to expand density transfers to the Midtown district, instead of maintaining the prior development ordinance to exchange density credits amongst waterfront commercial properties only- to now allowing density be transferred inland away from the amenities which attract tourist (beaches/waterfront).

So in adapting to growth, why would one want to encourage hotel growth inland when the prior comprehensive plans allowed for density transfer on waterfront properties.

This is where I do not understand the pathway the city is promoting in redeveloping the Midtown area; especially considering the fact that the city purchased waterfront land in Midtown to develop Veterans Park with the vision to create a cultural center.

So why would one want to re-intensify the area with inland hotels when visitors really want beach access. This amounts to encouraging growth at the expense of quality.

And if you review most presentations the city provides regarding Midtown, the emphasis is never on the residents, it is on promoting business. And that is where they dilute the program by diminishing the role of residents.

A good article I recently read:

http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/424_T...
of-Development-Rights-for-Balanced-Development-

My comments are not to simply be antagonistic, but to encourage CRITICAL review. And honestly, I sometimes do not understand why they pursue options or ordinances that run counter to promoting and enhancing the jewels on this island for the benefit of residents as well as visitors/tourists.

WizeOlMarco writes:

HOW?????????

See my earlier suggestions, buisiness and property owners need to expand their parking by investing their money.

WizeOlMarco writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There is a commercial property for sale at the intersection of Bald Eagle and Palm, east side. Been listed for last couple of years. Small building could easily be removed, most of the site is gravel and driveway. The local commercial property owners and businesses likely do not feel it is their responsibility to provide parking commensurate with their business levels; and why should they? The City leaves the impression the City will eventually provide the parking. It is in the City/Citizens best interest to have a healthy business sector, however the business investment costs should be by the businesses, not the public-at-large. And, the public space should not be converted to a narrow business use. It is an interesting conundrum because a lot of the business customers are residents with their guests from other parts of the island.

mhs513 writes:

As to parking, why is it acceptable for the city to allow parking in swales at community events, such as the recent fair at Veterans Park, but not allow it for restaurants or other businesses?

WizeOlMarco writes:

A) community events are occaisional, not daily; B) community events are publicaly supported and the public is the City. C) restaurants and other business are private enterprise operating regularly. In the real world, there is a lot of 'grey area'.

WizeOlMarco writes:

Any 'force' to change the way the businesses use the public street sides will have to be collectively by the residents by demanding City rules be enforced. Business owners will have incentive if their customers are getting ticketed for parking. But remember, some of these customers are also residents. One of the condo associations has already expressed to the City that the business parking is out of balance. I don't know if the business owners percieve a problem exists. I know from observation Snook Inn saw a need for more parking and somehow secured additional spaces along Bald Eagle near the dive shop. Anyone know the history of how these spaces were secured?

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