Marco Island Town Hall: More than 80 turn out for coffee and conversation with Councilor Sacher

Marco Island City Councilor Larry Sacher chats with friends before his Town Hall meeting on Wednesday. Residents were encouraged to ask questions and participate in local government meetings. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island City Councilor Larry Sacher chats with friends before his Town Hall meeting on Wednesday. Residents were encouraged to ask questions and participate in local government meetings. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Jack Gilbert questions whether Marco Island’s requirement to hardwire hot water heaters is an arbitrary rule. He addressed his query to City Councilor Larry Sacher who held a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Jack Gilbert questions whether Marco Island’s requirement to hardwire hot water heaters is an arbitrary rule. He addressed his query to City Councilor Larry Sacher who held a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

More than 80 residents fill the Marco Island’s Community Center Wednesday to ask questions during a Town Hall sponsored by City Councilor Larry Sacher. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

More than 80 residents fill the Marco Island’s Community Center Wednesday to ask questions during a Town Hall sponsored by City Councilor Larry Sacher. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

One resident meets with Marco Island City Council Larry Sacher during a break in his Town Hall meeting on Wednesday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

One resident meets with Marco Island City Council Larry Sacher during a break in his Town Hall meeting on Wednesday. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Despite chilly weather, the house was packed for Councilor Larry Sacher’s town hall meeting on Wednesday.

In his words, he fulfilled one of his campaign promises: to meet with the people and converse. Questions were taken randomly from the audience and answers were frank and unambiguous. The Marco Island Civic Association helped host the event.

“There are no boundaries,” Sacher told the crowd. “The reason we’re here is the City of Marco faces some very significant issues that affect all citizens.”

On most people’s minds were worries about commercial construction, especially at Rose Marina and the Marco Island Marriott. Sacher added the absence of consistency and good city management as his concerns.

Rick Melli questioned the appropriateness of boat storage on the undeveloped lot across from Rose Marina.

“It is unresolved about the storage facility on the west side of Bald Eagle,” Sacher responded. “This has not come to council.”

He passed the question to Monte Lazarus, chairman of the city’s Planning Board, for more details. The board approved four ordinance amendments to Marco Island’s Land Development Code on first reading that could open the way for conditional use requests and expansion by the marina.

At the board’s second public hearing, only one amendment was approved, raising building heights for marinas from 50 to 60 feet. Three amendments, including one that would allow boat storage on the west side of Bald Eagle Drive, were continued for further discussion.

“We have suggested a four-sided rather than a three-sided building,” Lazarus said of the boat storage.

“Are we a sleepy, small town that wants to remain that way or are we moving toward Myrtle Beach?” Kelly Linman asked.

“We don’t have a lot of consistency in the various ordinances that we have,” Sacher said. “I see Marco River Marina’s dilemma that it does not have adequate and updated facilities.”

Sacher said he is not prepared to vote one way or the other the issue.

Several residents questioned the Marriott’s future renovation.

“Marriott has submitted drawings to the building department,” Sacher said. “They are applying for some changes to the PUD, so it will go to the Planning Board twice and then to the City Council.”

Rick Medwedeff, general manager of the Marco Island Marriott, was given a chance to speak about his plans. Only five properties parallel the area where the hotel hopes to place a parking deck on the east side of Collier Boulevard. The hotel is reaching out to those property owners for input, he said.

Bill Flasche asked Sacher’s opinion of the proposed Mackle Park Community Center.

The question of a new building at Mackle Park should require a referendum, Sacher said.

“I’ve made it clear from day one that the Mackle Park facility is inadequate and in disrepair,” he said. “Our city could use a larger and more functional community center. I would vote in favor of it.”

Sacher was sensitive to overbuilding calling the south end of the island a Manhattan skyline.

“I don’t want Marco Island being called Myrtle Beach South,” he said.

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Comments » 6

Konfuzius writes:

“I don’t want Marco Island being called Myrtle Beach South,” he said."

OK! Than stop the Marriott expansions plans.
That will be finally a Manhattan skyline!
Over all. Larry Sacher turned in no fish and no meat. I missed clear and understandable statements for the future of Marco Island.
Like ajm3 said all the times in his blogs.
Be alert Marco Islander!

ed34145 writes:

The Marriott says only 5 properties parallel the area of their desired development. What about the promises made to ALL Marco Islanders when the original variances were given....that is; they would get height extensions, etc. in exchange for NEVER building on that side of Collier.

CopWatch writes:

Sacher was sensitive to overbuilding calling the south end of the island a Manhattan skyline.

“I don’t want Marco Island being called Myrtle Beach South,” he said.

Fact: Marco Island is looking more like Chicago every day.

JohninMarco writes:

I must question the Mackle Park issue. You just had a department head request new vehicles for his department, only to discover that their was no maintenance plan in place. Now a new building because the old one is in disrepair. Can we please hold someone accountable.

1Paradiselost writes:

in response to JohninMarco:

I must question the Mackle Park issue. You just had a department head request new vehicles for his department, only to discover that their was no maintenance plan in place. Now a new building because the old one is in disrepair. Can we please hold someone accountable.

Let's repair the old building. Please show the taxpayers the city can maintain a build before building a new one.

The current building is only 25 years old...

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

I could not attend the Councilor's Coffee, as I was out of the country. But it seems from the article above that most of the Councilor's responses were pure politics, and very little factual information, such as 'this hasn't come before the council yet', and this will go before the Planning Board a couple of times before it comes to the Council. In spite of the non-answers, I still think it was a good idea for Mister Sacher to have the coffee. And with such a good turnout of the taxpayers (more than 80), that is better than we normally see at the regular City Council meetings. I truly hope that Mister Sacher, as well as the other Councilors, will have additional Town Hall-type meetings. I also see where Mister Honig has started a web site to provide his views of current events. I wholeheartedly agree that ALL our infrastructure (bridges, buildings, vehicles, etc.) should have strict preventive maintenance and repair schedules, which would effectively extend their useful lives. It's a sad waste of our tax dollars to continually tear down our infrastructure and build new. If this were the best course of action, we would never have such structures as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Parthenon, and other great buildings, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, etc. How can those structures provide good and efficient service for so long, when we can't make our structures last a fraction as long? And many people on the island have classic cars that they're justifiably proud of - how can those cars remain in service for all these many years, when our city vehicles can only last a few years, with all the resources that we have available to do the maintenance and repairs? What does our Public Works, Fire and Police departments do instead of maintaining their vehicles?

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