Marco Island's City Council puts zoning appeal on hold after abrupt turnaround in interpretation

After learning that Joe Irvin, Marco Island’s interim community affairs director, reversed the city’s Official Interpretation on a zoning issue, attorney Doug Lewis, right, confers with client Jerry Helms, owner of Marco Self Storage. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

After learning that Joe Irvin, Marco Island’s interim community affairs director, reversed the city’s Official Interpretation on a zoning issue, attorney Doug Lewis, right, confers with client Jerry Helms, owner of Marco Self Storage. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Joe Irvin, interim community affairs director, takes a drink of water after explaining to Marco Island’s City Council Monday he would reverse an interpretation on zoning issued by Bryan Milk, the fired former community affairs director. Cheryl Ferrar/Eagle Correspondent

Joe Irvin, interim community affairs director, takes a drink of water after explaining to Marco Island’s City Council Monday he would reverse an interpretation on zoning issued by Bryan Milk, the fired former community affairs director. Cheryl Ferrar/Eagle Correspondent

— Joe Irvin repeated what he said three times Monday as Marco Island’s city councilors tried to digest what they were hearing.

Irvin, interim community affairs director, used only one word, “not,” to reverse an earlier Official Interpretation of the city’s Comprehensive Plan by former Community Affairs Director Bryan Milk.

What Milk found compatible use for Progressive Auto’s Car Condo, 720 Bald Eagle Drive, giving the business greater storage capabilities, Irvin found inconsistent with land use codes.

Milk’s interpretation wrongly reflected the Comprehensive Plan, he said.

City councilors were hearing one of three appeals of Milk’s interpretations in their role as Zoning Board of Appeals.

Irvin claimed he realized the interpretation went against city plans after Milk was suspended on Dec. 31 and terminated on Jan. 2. It was then that he began researching city documents to prepare to defend Milk’s interpretation, he said.

Irvin claimed at no time was he asked to come to a specific conclusion.

Milk was fired two days after his suspension for an undisclosed business relationship with the Xpress Mart in Progressive’s Auto Center.

Milk sent three Official Interpretations on Sept. 18 to attorney Doug Lewis, who requested them. Lewis represents Rizzi Storage and Marco Self Storage, two businesses in the city’s C-5 zone. Progressive Auto’s Car Condo is located in C-4.

After receiving the interpretations, Lewis and his clients appealed all three.

Interim City Manager Guillermo Polanco discovered that Milk had a member interest in Progressive’s Xpress Mart and also held a promissory note on the business.

Polanco read city, county and state ethics rule to council Monday that required Milk to disclose any relationship with a business affected by city decisions. To his knowledge, Polanco said, no regulatory agency knew of Milk’s involvement with Progressive.

Polanco said he gave Milk the choice of resigning or being terminated.

Prior to taking up the appeal, Councilor Larry Honig called for an independent investigation into events surrounding Milk’s termination. His motion was seconded by Councilor Chuck Kiester but failed 5-2.

Following Irvin’s surprise turnaround, council moved the appeal to a future date until the city could revise its official interpretation.

“I knew nothing about this,” said Lewis after the reversal. “I wish I had. It would have saved me a trip down here and the expense incurred in appealing this.”

Since the reason for the appeal no longer existed, Lewis asked the city to return his filing fees.

Council also continued to a later date the two remaining zoning appeals.

“In view of what happened with Mr. Milk, we agree with the continuations,” Lewis said.

Richard Yovanovich, who represents Mark Small, owner of two floors in the car condo, told council he was not happy with the reversal. He said he and his client would appeal the revised interpretation once it is written.

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Comments » 6

Karma1776 writes:

MIPD TOP BRASS IS CORRUPT!

Don Hunter lied to the public and falsified public records by stating he had a shoulder injury. July 2013, Hunter was hospitalized for a stroke and a series of seizures. Hunter mislead the community by claiming he was being hospitalized for a shoulder injury that he sustained while power lifting weights....Uhm, he’s like almost 70 years old, get over yourself! Despite the seizures that he had, Hunter covered the incident up so he would not have to notify the DMV and also stop carrying a firearm because he’s a scared little girl who used to get beat up in high school. The brass failed to inform the public that Hunter has not driven a Police Car since his stroke and seizures but continues to drive his personal car, which is a violation of Florida law after having seizures. His lies go so deep that he even continues to carry on an extra marital affair (M.E.) that has gone on for years....so much for having integrity! I wonder if a public records request was made for the attendance of Hunter, how many times would you see that he used his electronic key card? Is the entire agency run by his iPad? Ghost Employment is a criminal act and he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent! If he is able to take advantage of this little town, imagine how much he profited from a large office like CCSO for so many years! I guess thats how he can afford so many women in his life! What is equally criminal is the fact that everything that is generated from MIPD comes from Dave Baer. Don’t get me started....Baer is the most incompetent person in the agency and who has been referred to by past commanders as the “master manipulator!” He maintains his position in covering for Hunter because it gives him freedom to run the show without any consequence of being the top cop. But his incompetence just trickles down through his minions...this is probably why Pete Ferreira will most likely get away with killing that lady on November 30,2013...But Baer couldn’t be too concerned about that because he was worried about how he was going to swap car parts from a deadlined vehicle after smashing his police car into the rear of another citizen while driving recklessly! The crash occurred on US41 but Hunter’s disciples covered it up by not writing a citation even though any other person who slammed into the rear of another vehicle would have been cited...I’m sure that he wasn’t disciplined at work either like he did to so many other officers like Steph Mariani and Ed d’Alessandro! The hypocrisy at this agency is epic and the old saying “do as I say, not as I do” has been beaten to death as Baer runs a baby sitting center from his corner office! I think Baer’s daughter has been doing a fine job of running the agency but isn’t it time for the grown folks to handle this job? Maybe he can stay home and watch his kids if Hunter would show up to work!

Karma1776 writes:

I never thought I would say it but ya gotta admire how directors such as Milk and Murphy have EARNED respect from other city employees as well as the citizens of this community. Other directors like Hunter and "wanna-be" directors like Baer attempt to threaten and intimidate people into respecting them. It doesn't work after you leave the big pond of corruption in Collier County and urine into the small pool of corruption within the MIPD. Stealing money as a ghost employee was simple when you are an elected official that can have the staff run the day-to-day operation in your absence but when there is nobody under you who is competent enough at MIPD to do that, you must show up to work! OR...if you're tired of faking it, while driving down the street with drool on your collar from having one to many strokes, maybe you can just hang it up and save the city some money... Since Bob Boone and his scandals, Roger Reinke cheating on his wife with the secretary, Thom Carr and his drunken escapades and now Hunter, the arrogant and egotistical stroke victim who wants everyone to believe that he is still a power lifter in high school...is that how your wife still sees you even though you graduated HS before she was born? Why would you have an affair on such a supportive mother and wife? Where is your moral compass? Why wont you answer the phone when your eldest daughter calls? Do you represent the city of Marco Island? Where does the hypocritical behavior end?

marco826 writes:

This Joke goes on and on...

Konfuzius writes:

in response to marco826:

This Joke goes on and on...

I GUESS THIS IS NOT A JOKE ANYMORE.

tikihut2206 writes:

in response to Karma1776:

MIPD TOP BRASS IS CORRUPT!

Don Hunter lied to the public and falsified public records by stating he had a shoulder injury. July 2013, Hunter was hospitalized for a stroke and a series of seizures. Hunter mislead the community by claiming he was being hospitalized for a shoulder injury that he sustained while power lifting weights....Uhm, he’s like almost 70 years old, get over yourself! Despite the seizures that he had, Hunter covered the incident up so he would not have to notify the DMV and also stop carrying a firearm because he’s a scared little girl who used to get beat up in high school. The brass failed to inform the public that Hunter has not driven a Police Car since his stroke and seizures but continues to drive his personal car, which is a violation of Florida law after having seizures. His lies go so deep that he even continues to carry on an extra marital affair (M.E.) that has gone on for years....so much for having integrity! I wonder if a public records request was made for the attendance of Hunter, how many times would you see that he used his electronic key card? Is the entire agency run by his iPad? Ghost Employment is a criminal act and he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent! If he is able to take advantage of this little town, imagine how much he profited from a large office like CCSO for so many years! I guess thats how he can afford so many women in his life! What is equally criminal is the fact that everything that is generated from MIPD comes from Dave Baer. Don’t get me started....Baer is the most incompetent person in the agency and who has been referred to by past commanders as the “master manipulator!” He maintains his position in covering for Hunter because it gives him freedom to run the show without any consequence of being the top cop. But his incompetence just trickles down through his minions...this is probably why Pete Ferreira will most likely get away with killing that lady on November 30,2013...But Baer couldn’t be too concerned about that because he was worried about how he was going to swap car parts from a deadlined vehicle after smashing his police car into the rear of another citizen while driving recklessly! The crash occurred on US41 but Hunter’s disciples covered it up by not writing a citation even though any other person who slammed into the rear of another vehicle would have been cited...I’m sure that he wasn’t disciplined at work either like he did to so many other officers like Steph Mariani and Ed d’Alessandro! The hypocrisy at this agency is epic and the old saying “do as I say, not as I do” has been beaten to death as Baer runs a baby sitting center from his corner office! I think Baer’s daughter has been doing a fine job of running the agency but isn’t it time for the grown folks to handle this job? Maybe he can stay home and watch his kids if Hunter would show up to work!

so if all of this is true...why cant we get rid of him...we are a small island but also a city..if we get enough petition we will have him out so instead of complaining lets do something...

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

Did any of you attend the City Council meeting on January 6th? Or did you review the video recording of that meeting? Bryan Milk was railroaded! He was first put on unpaid suspension and promised an investigation. Then the Council's puppet Polanco terminated him less than 3 days later without due process, without an investigation, without a chance to address his concerns or provide his side of the story. Outrageous!! As the recording shows, the 3 interpretations that Milk was fired for, were not written or researched by Milk - they were written by Joe Irvin, who said in the published interpreta-tions that the Kelly's use was a premitted use under regulations. Conveniently, after the fact, after he was successful in getting his boss fired, and getting himself promoted to fill his bosses previous shoes, Joe Irvin "changed his mind", did "further research", and reversed his opinion. A little late, don't you think? At least a little late for Bryan Milk. And, it was brought out in the meeting that Milk had told Joe Irvin and the City Attorney of his relationship with the Kelly's, and that the City Manager and some members of the City Council were aware of that relationship - prior to the suspen-sion and prior to the termination. Yet they railroaded Milk and fired him. And what happened to the guy who wrote the interpretations, the guy who brought the house down on Milk? Well, that guy got promoted to fill his old bosses position. It would be funny if it weren't for the shattered life of others, like Bryan Milk. It's high time that we get the arrogant rulers off the dais, where they can do no more harm. It's time we replace them and their cronies in the City Government with people who can, and will, act in the best interests of our City. And who will ensure fair and equitable treatment for all our citizens. And who will not act only in the best interests of the big money cohorts and big influences that seem to run this town. I naively thought that this kind of unfair influence was only evident in mob cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit, etc. Was I that wrong???

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