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A parking exemption designed to provide some respite during the holiday period will become a permanent fixture on Marco Island.

For the past few years, the Marco Island City Council has adopted a short-term exemption to allow parking in residential swales during overnight hours from Nov. 15-Jan. 15. While the City Council adopted the temporary exemption last year, it unanimously voted to codify the exemption at Monday’s meeting.

In addition to allowing parking in residential swales between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., a moratorium of enforcement will also allow for vehicles to block sidewalks during that period.

More: Marco Island eases parking restrictions over the holiday season

Although he voted for the permanent change, Councilor Sam Young said the dates for the exemption seemed backward to him because he observed an exodus during those times for people to go up north on Christmas.

“I think it would be more appropriate for January, February and March,” Young said while also suggesting a similar provision during spring break. 

Councilor Howard Reed said that the city first broached the change at the request of citizens that stayed behind during that period and extra guests, requiring an additional need for parking.

“When we passed this in the past, it’s not because of people going up north,” Reed said. “It’s because people like myself and many, many others, who don’t go up north, have our kids and grandkids come down and visit us.”

With the city having some history with the provision, Reed also suggested changes to ordinance language after some citizens approached him with what he referred to as unintended consequences.

Reed said that proposed language did not prevent someone from leaving a vehicle on another property owner’s swale, which resulted in someone leaving three vehicles on others’ swales in one cul-de-sac this year.

As a result, the City Council agreed to change the language to allow property owners to park in their own swales or in places where they have written consent from the owner.

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