MARCO ISLAND — 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.