Open for business: Marco Council to allow construction repairs on Sunday until end of year

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
Disaster relief volunteers coordinated by the Wesley United Methodist Church cover a roof on Goodland with a tarp. The group drove down from Tennessee to help residents after Hurricane Irma.

Marco Island has not fully recovered from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma but a new proposal may aid in expediting construction projects in the city.

The Marco Island City Council has approved allowing construction repairs for a 6-hour window on Sundays until the end of the year by a 5-2 vote.

“There are a lot of citizens out there who have roofs that still need repairs,” Chairperson Jared Grifoni said. “They have other things that need repairs, and if we can get government out of the way by letting these people do work that they pay other individuals to do and not stand in the way, I think we need to do that.”

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The City Council first broached changes three weeks ago after Tom Moore, owner of Moore Roofing, raised concerns about delays in the building department and the impact of additional inspections.

The Council instructed acting City Manager Guillermo Polanco to look at potential ways it could help alleviate some of the problems, which prompted the item to be placed on Monday’s agenda.

Under the current rules, construction repairs cannot be completed on Sundays. Grifoni said the rules were akin to a noise ordinance and were in place to ensure quality of life.

The moratorium the council has approved allows the potential for work to be completed between noon and 6 p.m.

Councilor Larry Honig said he had been approached by contractors asking for additional time because they have to pull their workers from jobs due to inclement weather. The addition of the six-hour window would give them an additional 10 percent of work time during the week.

Councilor Charlette Roman, who cast one of the dissenting votes, questioned the effectiveness of the proposal because the city has yet to identify the problems with why there are delays.

Roman said she had yet to receive any communications from construction companies asking to work Sundays and instead had received concerns from citizens on how noise may impact the quality of life.

As a counterproposal, Roman said she would have been amenable to the moratorium if it had been shorter and allowed for an evaluation to see if it was effective.

Councilor Howard Reed, who also cast one of the dissenting votes, said he originally thought the proposal was a good idea until he researched the insurance and accident rates of roofers.

“That’s the most dangerous job on the island,” Reed said. “How long before someone exhausted from working seven, 13 (or) 14 straight days slips and falls off a roof? I think it’s a horrible idea from a safety standpoint.”

Grifoni, however, did not share Reed’s concerns because all contractors have to abide by labor laws.

“Just because Marco Island does not have a prohibition on work doesn’t mean they are going to be able to work these people to the bone beyond what they would normally be able to,” Grifoni said. “If they work overtime, they have to pay overtime.”