City OKs Rose Marina permit for temporary boat storage

Steve Stefanides

Rose Marina is one step closer to starting construction on its $15 million facelift and modernization project after the Marco Island City Council approved a temporary-use permit to allow the marina to store boats temporarily on several residential lots the corporation owns on Magnolia Court.

The approval didn’t come easily. A number of residents from the Magnolia Court area came before council to say they fear a long and disruptive construction project will affect their quality of life.

Many came forward to protest the impact storage of the boats on those vacant lots would have on the burrowing owl activity on those lots. Rose had applied to have those nests removed, as they were not actively involved in nesting activities.

In a November , then-city environmental specialist Nancy Richie had advised that the nests were no longer active and no nesting activities had been present the previous year. This allowed Rose to apply to the Florida Wildlife Commission for permission to remove the remaining species and decommission the burrows.

Greg Vilk, a resident of 850 Magnolia, commented his opposition in addition to the burrowing owls came with what he described as an improper use of a residential lot.

“This is not only an issue regarding owls, it is about land use and following our codes,” said Vilk.

He went on to accuse City Manager Roger Hernstadt of rubber-stamping the project. He added he believes “some members of this council are railroading our island.”

Jim Curran, a member of the Marco Island Civic Association board of directors, read a letter from the group’s attorney that requested Rose find an alternative storage site for the boats.

In an effort to provide additional transparency to the process, the Growth Management Department had brought the permit request to the city’s planning board. Under present codes, the department could have administratively issued the permit. The planning board did approve the permit and forwarded the issue along to council, which heard debate on the issue.

The permit would also encompass the utilization of lots at 880 Bald Eagle Drive for temporary parking for the marina’s operations and the lot at 900 Bald Eagle Drive for the storage of construction materials during the first two phases of the reconstruction.

Eventually, the lot at 900 Bald Eagle will be used for a boat sales office and display area, while the lot at 880 Bald Eagle will be returned to its original status.

George Fonda, president of the Anglers Cove Condo Association, asked that the construction storage site be moved to the parking lot utilized for guests on the Key West Express and the Marco Island Princess, which also is run out of the marina. Rose has agreed to power wash the building across the street from the storage site as an accommodation to their neighbors.

In the end, councilors Larry Honig, Joe Batte, Bob Brown and Larry Sacher voted in favor of the permit, while Victor Rios, Amadeo Petricca and Ken Honecker voted against.

Construction is expected to begin in April, said Dan High, marina general manager.

“We want to be good neighbors and have a minimum impact on those effected by the work to be done,” said High.

Rose Marina is the only deep water/direct access public marina on Marco, offering storage, service, boat sales and a fully stocked ship’s store and service-parts operation.