Olde Marco Inn rezoning shelved after city staff discover issues

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
Marco Island city staff have shelved the rezoning application for the Olde Marco Inn, finding that its planned unit development proposal is nonconforming.

Improvements planned for the Olde Marco Inn have been put on the backburner as a result of issues raised with its rezoning application.

Director of Community Affairs Dan Smith told the Planning Board Friday that city staff has determined the project would be a nonconforming planned unit development due to the project not meeting size requirements and not being consistent with the comprehensive plan.

Smith said issues with density were confirmed after meeting with a few owners of condominiums on the site that were using them for long-term residential use.

“It opened my eyes in asking more questions about this project,” Smith said. “In the discussion, we got into the review of the actual site and that’s when it came to our conclusion that this was a nonconforming planned unit development because you need a minimum of 10 acres.”

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The preliminary plans for the project envisioned demolishing the existing commercial structures on the project and constructing a new wing that would house 41 additional units in its place.

Some of the existing businesses would have been relocated to a new pool and deck area that would have also added a new restaurant with a capacity of 282 indoor and outdoor guests.

The project also called for the extraction of the original building, which was built in 1883, raising it to proper flood levels and rotating it back to where the original entrance was located.

Existing hotel areas would remain in the new scheme. Area merchants and residents have mixed reactions to the news of the redevelopment plans for the Olde Marco Inn and surrounding shops.

Max Allard, development manager for the project, said that it is working with city staff to iron out the issues and still intends to resubmit its application at a later date.

Smith said the original property was approved as a PUD by Collier County for an infill project because as long as there was development on adjacent lots, its code could allow for smaller parcels to be zoned that way.

Marco Island code does not have any language for infill projects, thus requiring this project to be at least 10 acres for the rezoning.

“I know some of the overlays on the island allow you for less than 10 acres,” Smith said. “At the time, I assumed it was one of them, but that was not the case.”

Representatives of the Olde Marco Inn project had originally asked for and been granted a continuance for its rezoning application in January, citing a desire to respond to concerns and criticisms levied against the project.

Nearby condominium owners and board members from their associations had voiced concerns about the project not adhering to the comprehensive plan as well as noise, traffic, safety and invasion of privacy. 

Adding to the issues the city needs to sort out is how part-hotel, part-condominiums should be treated.

Members of the Planning Board have asked staff to look into whether the city has definitions for hotel-condominiums as well as what the appropriate density would be for such a use.

With some owners of condominiums on site using them for residential use, the project may actually be in violation of its current zoning.

“Any increase in intensity or density, in my opinion, would not be allowed,” Smith said.