Marco Island Planning Board expresses angst over language in marina code amendments

Planning Board members Jack Patterson, left, Monte Lazarus, Marty Roddy and Bill Trotter listen to public comments regarding open-rack boat storage on land across from Rose Marina. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Planning Board members Jack Patterson, left, Monte Lazarus, Marty Roddy and Bill Trotter listen to public comments regarding open-rack boat storage on land across from Rose Marina. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Josh Maxwell, representing Rose Marina, points to a drawing of upgrades the marina hopes will be approved in future months. Beside Maxwell is Frank Donohue, designer for the project. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Josh Maxwell, representing Rose Marina, points to a drawing of upgrades the marina hopes will be approved in future months. Beside Maxwell is Frank Donohue, designer for the project. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Planning Board members Jack Patterson, left, Monte Lazarus, Marty Roddy and Bill Trotter listen to public comments regarding open-rack boat storage on land across from Rose Marina. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Planning Board members Jack Patterson, left, Monte Lazarus, Marty Roddy and Bill Trotter listen to public comments regarding open-rack boat storage on land across from Rose Marina. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

During public comment, Kelly Linman questions the language suggested in an ordinance amendment under consideration by March Island’s Planning Board during Friday’s meeting. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

During public comment, Kelly Linman questions the language suggested in an ordinance amendment under consideration by March Island’s Planning Board during Friday’s meeting. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Three ordinance amendments to Marco Island’s Land Development Code proved too complex Friday for Marco Island’s Planning Board. A fourth was approved by a vote of 7-0.

The board voted to increase the maximum building height for dry boat storage at marinas in the city’s C-5 zone from 50 to 60 feet with conditional use approval. City council will make the final decision.

In C-5, without conditional use, the approved height was 35 feet. Conditional use provided for 50 feet. Language now would allow marine dry storage up to 60 feet.

Three other amendments were tabled until the board’s first meeting in March.

Changing the language for marinas came as part of a plan to renovate and rebuild Marco River Marina, Inc., known as Rose Marina. The marina plans to request six conditional use permits from the city to facilitate its new design.

The original marina is located on the Marco River side of Bald Eagle Drive. The company also owns two parcels of land across the street that it purchased at a later date. Its landside property, zoned C-4, is currently used as a parking lot and green space.

The board grappled with allowing open-rack boat storage on the two parcels. Open-rack storage is permitted at marinas located on navigable water frontage, but new language would be needed in the city’s code to allow it as a conditional use on inland property.

The fact that the city did not have a definition of open-rack storage added to the dilemma.

As the board tested how the provision would affect other marinas on the island, it became clear that more research would be needed to address the issue.

According to Joe Irvin, interim community affairs director, 12 businesses fitting the description of marinas are located within city limits. Three of them Rose Marina, Walker’s Hideaway Marina and Anglers Cove could benefit from the ordinance change.

Frank Donohue, designer for the Rose Marina Project, defined open-rack storage as tubes and bumpers where boats are stacked. When it requests conditional use, Rose Marina will be asking for a three-sided rack, Donohue said, enclosing the stored boats on three sides under a roof.

Charlette Roman of the board said she had problems discussing Rose Marina’s conditional use requests while the board was considering the ordinance amendments.

Board member Bill Trotter questioned how land-use codes could be amended without concern about their effect on the 12 marinas Irvin identified.

Irvin said the city’s vision for the community recognized Marco Island as a water-based recreational community, and the city should work to support rather than suppress marina activities.

In other business, the board expressed concern that decisions it made while Bryan Milk was community affairs director might have been tainted by information they received. Milk was fired for not disclosing his business relationship with Progressive Auto’s Xpress Mart.

The board denied a request for conditional use from Progressive Auto’s Car Condo at two hearings in 2013. The board was upset that Milk wrote an opinion after the hearings that conflicted with its decision.

The board voted unanimously to have staff look into any decisions made while Milk was working for the city, particularly regarding Progressive Auto. They want assurances that all decisions were consistent with city land development code.

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Comments » 3

ajm3s writes:

"The board voted to increase the maximum building height for dry boat storage at marinas in the city’s C-5 zone from 50 to 60 feet with conditional use approval. City council will make the final decision."

A bad decision! To simply allow increased height restrictions is another example of poor planning insight. I wish our planning board members would understand the Comprehensive Plan coupled with the design approach envisioned by the Mackle Brothers and their architects.

A small tropical town atmosphere.

If commercial entities, i.e. marinas, want more storage, the intent was to buy adjoining land for expansion. Even today the city is embarking on a Midtown District plan to entice commercial development on vacant lots. But it continues to promote more intensity on the same lots thereby forgoing the need to expand to adjoining lots. In the case of Rose Marina, the adjoining property was originally zoned C5 and was amended to allow residential condominiums i.e. Anglers Cove, thereby eliminating growth for Rose Marina or other marinas.

So what we have today is a condo and a marina sharing a common lot line.

So today the Planning Board will exacerbate the disparity by more commercial volume alongside a residential property. Quite a feat of planning!

I am not optimistic going forward, especially since another height restriction is about to amended if the Marriott is allowed with its new expansion.

Folks! Height restrictions matter especially if you wish to encourage a small tropical town, which I submit to those in the tourist industry is quite a compelling draw....but I fear commercialism will dominate and the small town atmosphere will evaporate for progress.

WizeOlMarco writes:

Approve a change to the code language to match what is planned? No. If warranted, grant a one time variance for a one time project...in this case, for the water side land the requested height variance is for reconstruction of an existing building previously approved by grant of a height variance. Concerned about how it affects the other similarly zoned land...how about concern for the overall community, i.e. the land use plan. Hold the boat and reverse that 7-0 vote.

captnjimbo writes:

I agree we should accommodate the boating community...but no way should we allow transporting boats on a forklift across Bald Eagle...disaster waiting to happen.

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