Sign ordinance heads to Marco Island City Council for approval

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
City of Marco Island Government Center sign.

Changes to Marco Island’s sign ordinance are headed to the City Council for approval for the second time after the planning board recommended forwarding amendments to its ordinance by a 7-0 vote.

Kathy Mehaffey, an attorney with Weiss, Serota, Helfman, Cole & Bierman, presented the final changes to the ordinance, including alterations to public wayfinding and vehicle signs, which potentially concluded a lengthy process that began last year.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Reed vs. the Town of Gilbert, Ariz., made changes to how signs could be regulated.

Government ordinances can regulate time, place and manner of signs, but not the message content.

More:Planning board makes progress on sign ordinance changes

More:Marco Island City Council rejects divisive sign ordinance

As Mehaffey told the planning board at its April 20 meeting, local governments across the country were all dealing with changes to avoid violating the First Amendment with the extent of changes needed differing from body to body.

After three hours of reviewing the ordinance at that meeting, the planning board chose to continue a public hearing and discussion in order to digest all of the material that was presented.

With the planning board’s approval, the Marco Island City Council will have its second crack at viewing the ordinance.

The City Council voted against changes to the ordinance in March. At that time, the planning board had yet to finish its discussions, but the ordinance still appeared on the council’s agenda.

In other business

The planning board has recommended approval of one site development plan while continuing discussion of another on Bald Eagle Drive.

The board recommended a site development plan for GEMCAP Development, LLC to build a 4,235 square-foot retail location for Sherwin-Williams paint store by a 5-2 vote.

The prospective store, located at 515 Bald Eagle Drive, is a greenfield lot, having previously been home to a service station.

Chairman Erik Brechnitz said the tanks had been removed but requested staff to look into whether an environmental assessment had been completed.

Board members Ron Goldstein and Ed Issler cast the dissenting votes.

The board chose to continue discussion of ABC Liquors's plan to construct an 11,328 square-foot, two-story building, which will also require a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection due to Burrowing Owls nesting on site.

Additionally, attorney Alan Gougelman recommended ABC Liquors’s sign be reviewed because it did not appear to comply with the city’s sign ordinance.