Bill Patterson retires from key MICA architectural-review job
When the Mackle Bothers and Deltona Corporation laid out the island, they did so by adding deed restrictions that went with many of the individual pieces of property.
These caveats found within the deeds on property dealt with what could be built, setbacks, height restrictions and other restrictive languages.
They also designated certain special usages to ensure land would be put aside for churches, educational facilities, health care facilities, governmental buildings and other special requirements that would help fulfill their dreams for the island paradise they were developing.
When Deltona and the Mackles’ plans for the island were derailed due to objections from conservationists, they turned the responsibility for enforcing the deed restrictions over to the Marco Island Civic Association.
Since 1993, Bill Patterson has been the point person for the association’s efforts to deal with deed restrictions on Marco Island. Last Thursday marked Patterson’s last “official” meeting in that role, as he guided the Architectural Review Committee of MICA, reviewing a stack of documents awaiting approval.
“MICA originally had a committee that reviewed all the plans submitted for compliance. For the most part they lacked the construction and engineering experience to ensure the plans were drawn in accordance to specifications and to good engineering standards,” said Patterson.
Bill Patterson grew up on another island, but a little further north of here -- on Long Island Beach, N.J. He spent five years as a Marine and saw service during the Korean conflict. When he left the Marines, he began a long career in construction.
While working fulltime he would take courses and attend classes that would eventually see him graduate from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a civil engineering degree. During his career in the construction field, he would travel throughout the mid-Atlantic states on various job sites.
For Patterson, it was his job as project manager for Perrine Corp. building the Harrah’s Casino / Resort in Atlantic City that was probably his largest. The $177 million casino opened in 1980 during the boom time there. If that project were built with today’s dollars, it would be a $542 million endeavor.
Lynn Bradeen, another well-known developer in New Jersey and a competitor of Patterson, had told him about a little place called Marco Island.
“I made a quick trip down to Marco and really didn’t get excited about it. It wasn’t until former Philadelphia Flyers coach Keith Alan pressed me to take a second look at Marco that I purchased a vacant lot on Elm Court,” said Patterson.
In 1990 Patterson would build his house on that lot that he and his wife, Joan, moved into.
In 1993 Bradeen, who was president of the MICA board, convinced Patterson to take on the part-time responsibility for reviewing the plans submitted to MICA for their approval and provide a more professional approach to the responsibilities of the organization.
Pool cages, new decks, pools, new construction and additions all come before the MICA ARC group for their stamp of approval.
“This is to ensure anything to do with restrictions within their deeds are adhered to,” said Patterson.
“We really like to take a common-sense approach to this matters and don’t feel it’s our job to make life difficult for anyone. Those restrictions go with the land and can’t be simply changed by someone putting their finger up to test the political winds and that should be a something that residents can feel confident about,” said Patterson.
MICA has been challenged a number of times on the validity of the restrictions, and in each occasion their stance and that of the deed restrictions has been upheld in court.
Patterson, like so many other longtime residents of the island, has concerns about the changing face and character of Marco.
“Unfortunately a middle-class family would be hard pressed to move here today due to the ever-rising cost of real estate,” said Patterson. “This community was designed by the Mackles for the middle class. Unfortunately they were not able to realize their dream when the Corps of Engineers and the environmentalists caused them to abandon those plans. They were no longer in control and builds have gotten bigger and the smaller homes are being demolished and larger ones built.”
Betty Hernandez, who was once a member of the city’s planning department, will take over the reins for Patterson as he leaves behind 22 years of dedication to his responsibilities.
“I’m not sure anyone will ever fill Bill’s shoes around here,” said Hernandez.
Ruth McCann, the executive director of MICA for the last 18 years, agrees.
“When Bill walks out the door today the entire MICA staff and board of directors will be losing a great asset, as will the community,” said McCann.