Letter to the Editor: Marriott expansion not a done deal

Thank you to our fellow citizens who want to protect the residential island community we all cherish. The citizens voted six times against cityhood and the seventh time it was put on the ballot, it passed by 244. The propionates of cityhood sold the issue on “We would controlling our own destiny and prevent major corporations from taking over our residential island community.”

Marriott/Mass Mutual has made two well-orchestrated presentations to our Planning Board. On Aug. 2 they proposed a project that would take 18 months of heavy construction to build, go beyond the city height restriction of 100 feet, and break the 2001 contractual promise they made to the City of Marco Island and 162 properties in writing which reads “in no case, however, a above ground (which it underlined for clarity and importance) buildings or elevated structures including parking structures be permitted on the East side of Collier Boulevard.”

They have controlled the information flow so far. Articles in our newspapers have yet to quote the contractual agreement.

The press has painted a picture to our community like this is a done deal. Let me assure you all that is far from the truth. The last election the candidates who supported the expansion lost. The four who won agreed to never allow the above ground construction on the east side. We have a good City Council and it just got better with the adition of Bob Brown.

A convention center, which at 87,000 square feet, would require estimated 150 to 200 semi tractor trailer truck to bring trade show booths to the faculty and four days later return to pick them up. This process would repeat week in and week out 52 weeks a year. Currently the Marriott services a low impact incentive based convention business. This business would change to the more profitable physical display type conventions which by nature require heavy truck support. Our small island is not the place for such a facility. Mass Mutual now owns land at Hammock Bay which is a win win for everyone.

What can every island property owner do? Call or email your councilor. Send letters to the editor.

Bob Olson

Marco Island

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Comments » 6

ajm3s writes:

"The press has painted a picture to our community like this is a done deal."

Thanks Bob for fighting the good fight and making the folks aware that occasionally the press does not provide the whole story, and may cast a perspective that is well..... more of a script for a movie and protagonist.

On a national level, bloggers beware...the illustrious Ms. Feinstein of California, is pushing to define journalist in an attempt to limit free speech.

http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org...

Marco69 writes:

Time to get your head out of the sand Bob. Not only will this expansion benefit MI financially, it will bring in some much needed worldly people, not nimby's

captnjimbo writes:

I have driven Collier past the Marriott many times and lately have tried to envision the effect of a one story parking garage. As pictured, with the setback pictured I do not see that it is a big deal. If I lived on the cul-de-sacs just to the east I would be concerned about additional noise, exhaust, lights etc. I think those folks should be compensated accordingly.

As far as the convention center goes, it indeed will bring trade shows, trucks, traffic and will challenge the infrastructure here. I wish the Marriott well and I think that their presence here had helped immensely in the development and demand for retirement living however this is primarily a residential community blessed with amazing natural beauty.

What will a convention a week do to our community overall? What other changes beyond the Marriott property will have to be made in order to accommodate the increase in traffic and commerce?

I am getting older and may not even be here when the deal gets done but I would hate to even think about a section of Marco Island turning into South Beach Miami.

I would hope that the folks that are responsible spend some time to look hard at the longer term impact...certainly a "what if" decision tree should be laid out as once done, there will be no going back...not looking for an argument...just my two cents...and a little bit of common sense.

WMissow writes:

I believe that there will be an immense outpouring of homeowners on this island who will by, no doubt, picket any attempt to build a second story parking lot on the east side of Collier Blvd.

This picketing will extend to construction and or convention center traffic tearing up our streets and bridges with excessively heavy trucks and noise that will come with that.

I predict that Mass mutual will have a fight on their hands from the folks on this island that they never expected.

I am sure that this will not be something that will benefit the IMAGE that the Marriott wishes to have.

Can one imagine news coverage of hundreds of senior citizens, organized and standing together against corporate greed?

ajm3s writes:

in response to captnjimbo:

I have driven Collier past the Marriott many times and lately have tried to envision the effect of a one story parking garage. As pictured, with the setback pictured I do not see that it is a big deal. If I lived on the cul-de-sacs just to the east I would be concerned about additional noise, exhaust, lights etc. I think those folks should be compensated accordingly.

As far as the convention center goes, it indeed will bring trade shows, trucks, traffic and will challenge the infrastructure here. I wish the Marriott well and I think that their presence here had helped immensely in the development and demand for retirement living however this is primarily a residential community blessed with amazing natural beauty.

What will a convention a week do to our community overall? What other changes beyond the Marriott property will have to be made in order to accommodate the increase in traffic and commerce?

I am getting older and may not even be here when the deal gets done but I would hate to even think about a section of Marco Island turning into South Beach Miami.

I would hope that the folks that are responsible spend some time to look hard at the longer term impact...certainly a "what if" decision tree should be laid out as once done, there will be no going back...not looking for an argument...just my two cents...and a little bit of common sense.

I will take the position it is a big deal, in the sense that the documents Mass Mutual agreed to in 2001 and subsequent years were very clear, as Mr. Olson points out in his LTE. IN fact, they could not be more clear.

Also, the Marriott is asking to add an additional floor to exceed the current zoning laws in a quest to nudge the Planning Board into believing it is good for business. Well, is it good for the "business" of a maintaining a residential community? I suggest it is another effort to intensify an existing intense section of the city while vacant lots still exist several blocks away.

Bear in mind, the Planning Board approved to increase density in the Midtown District by allowing transfer of density credits from waterfront to inland lots.....

This is indicative of a city that is reacting to business interests (especially hospitality interests) with no regard to a master plan laid out at its infancy.

I actually believe the city should be reducing business zoning because the city has excess space set aside for commercial activity. Especially, in light to the elimination of 6000 family homes in the 1970's.

And if we are to believe in the vision of the Mackle Brothers, this was to primarily serve its residents; the changes to zoning should be to enhance living on this island .... NOT simply expanding tourism.... In fact, the current code of ordinances is very liberal for using private homes in residential areas for short term rental income... further evidence of expansion of tourism in residential zones.

When are we to say enough is enough....when the island is primarily a means for generating income for tourists?

I believe the pendulum must swing to favor the long term resident...it will lead to higher market valuation of homes and condos.... especially in terms of exclusiveness.... and in the end a very stable community...NOT reacting to every market whim.... especially a whim with big development dollars to add parking spaces on the same footprint near residential homes.

MrBreeze writes:

Marco69 is that the same "worldly people" who are to cheap to pay to park so they park on the swales after reading on the net how to get away with it.

Or is the same "worldly people" that when they get up at the beach they just leave a footprint of trash for someone else to clean up.

I have seen enough "wordly" people come to Marco Island.

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