UPDATE 1-22-16 6:50 p.m.
In a stunning turn of events at Friday's Marco Island Planning Board meeting, representatives for both Hendricks Commercial Properties, owners of the Island Plaza Shopping Center, and the Progressive Auto Storage Properties withdrew their joint petition for the creation of a Planned Unit Development from consideration.
Hendricks and Progressive were looking at making a combined $3 million investment in updating those properties over the next several years.
This action comes on the heels of about 11 hours of questioning and debate during the last two meetings of the Planning Board.
"Frankly, my client decided to withdraw the petition because it didn't appear that we could reach an acceptable compromise with city staff and the opposition," said Patrick Neale, the attorney for the Hendricks Group.
Read more about this in the Thursday, Jan. 20, print edition of the Marco Island Sun Times.
The Island Plaza/Progressive Auto Services Planned Unit Development will once again be front and center on the Planning Board agenda on Friday, Jan. 22, starting at 9 a.m. in the city council chambers at 51 Bald Eagle Drive.
The Hendricks Commercial Property Group, owner of record of the Island Plaza complex, proposes a $2.5 million investment in the renovation of the plaza that many on Marco view as the “gateway” to the island due to its proximity to Bald Eagle Drive and Collier Boulevard.
The improvements would include a new look for the exterior of the building, improvements in landscaping, better stormwater management, pedestrian walkways and an expansion of available parking. Improvements to Progressive properties will be completed over a multiyear schedule to compliment what would be done at Island Plaza.
“I am optimistic that we are considerably closer to a solution which should meet the needs of all parties involved,” said Patrick Neale, the attorney for Hendricks. “We certainly want to come to a resolution to all the unanswered issues. Our client may only have a $7,000 investment in fees with the city, but he has spent close to $100,000 for professional planners, architects and other associated costs.”
The proposed plans have continued to meet with strong opposition from residents at Smokehouse Bay Condominiums, who wish to see some resolution to the issues of noise at Progressive Auto’s car-wash facility. At an earlier Planning Board meeting in January, Mike Kelly, president of Progressive, said he had met with association representatives and they offered to build a sound wall and include other sound-deadening provisions to the building to address concerns.
Representatives from both Marco Self Storage and Rizzi Storage have also steadfastly opposed any adjustments to what Progressive might be granted. Their major objection has centered on previous attempts by Progressive to be granted permission to provide interior air-conditioned storage. That would go beyond the interior storage of automobiles now permitted.
Progressive is within the boundaries of a C-4 district under Marco Island zoning, and air-conditioned interior storage is only allowable within the C-5 district, which includes both Marco Self Storage and Rizzi Storage. The attorney for both operations claims an expansion of that right to the C-4 district will potentially have a detrimental impact on the value of C-5 properties.
Attorney Richard Yovanovich, representing Progressive, explained that they have removed any request for the inclusion of self-storage within their petition and were only seeking the return of their original rights for uses taken from them due to previous council decisions.
Some of the advantages of the project being proposed lie in the expansion of public parking along Herb Savage Way and the addition of parking between the Island Plaza and the Progressive properties. An increase of about 45 spaces is proposed.
In other action, the Planning Board also will hear a proposal for the adoption of a stricter fertilizer ordinance that will affect all properties on the island.