The Marco City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday to approve a land-development code change that would allow Rose Marina to build a 60-foot, state-of-the-art boat storage barn.
The 320-member Anglers Cove Condominium Association had opposed the plans, contending it would devalue their homes, block or eliminate waterfront views, and affect light and air.
However, Tuesday’s vote only changes the land-use code and Rose Marina still must come before the city’s planning board and council again with its development plans, which also includes additional boat storage on an adjacent property.
“All this did was change the zoning code to allow someone to go for a conditional use to get up to 60 feet,” said the marina’s attorney, Craig Woodward, after the meeting. “It just opened the door, so to speak.”
The change would affect two other waterfront C-5 zoned properties, the Anglers Cove land and Walker’s Hideaway Marina, neither of which is likely to use the zoning change because of impediments that prevent them from accommodating large boats.
“We’re going for a different market, the larger boats,” Woodward said of boats 40-feet long and over.
The vote came after a one-hour hearing and presentation of design plans by project manager Josh Maxwell, of Turrell, Hall & Associates; Rose Marina employees and others.
Rose Marina, which owns land on both sides of Bald Eagle Drive near Old Marco, received unanimous planning board approval for the increased height in the city’s C-5 zone, to 60 feet. Without that change, the approved height was 35 feet, with a conditional use of 50 feet.
The marina plans to tear down its 30-foot-high dry storage barn to build a 60-foot-high building to accommodate larger boats, increasing its storage from 122 vessels to 144. Other plans for a dry storage facility on adjacent property weren’t heard Tuesday.
“What we are asking the city council to do is consider the welfare of all the citizens of this community,” said Anthony Schifano of the Anglers Cove Condominium Association, urging council to deny it and seek changes.
Jim Johnson, of the Marco Civic Association, called the plans incomplete and insufficient and urged denial.
But others spoke out in favor of the renovation and expansion, including the Marco Chamber of Commerce and the Marine Industries of Collier County, which cited the need for a larger boat facility to accommodate the demand for storage for larger boats — and more boats — on the growing island.
“There is no facility on the island that can accommodate 40-foot and larger vessels,” Maxwell told council.
Dan High, the marina’s assistant general manager, said the marina has been constrained from accepting more boats and large vessels. He added that the marina was built in 1969, so it’s not up to standard codes.
“It would serve the need for people who make boating a part of their life,” High said.
Council members wrestled with the decision, with councilors Ken Honecker, Larry Sacher, and Amadeo Petricca voting against it. The marina plans return to the planning board and council in March or April.