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City Council approves changes to Marco Town Center despite its plan to use Suntree filters

Planning Board approved unanimously amendments to the site development plan of Marco Town Center on Dec. 6, 2019, including changes to landscaping and parking. In the image, the new conceptual architectural rendering substitutes asphalt with pavers at one of the mall's entrances.

Marco Island City Council unanimously passed a resolution approving a site development plan amendment for Marco Town Center.

The amendment calls for minor architectural changes, said Jason Smalley, city planner, during  a Jan. 6 meeting.

"This is also going to include additional green area," Smalley said. 

One of the reasons to make changes was to meet city code, said Chuck Borysiak, vice-president of redevelopment at Brixmor Property Group Inc.

Borysiak said other changes were made to accommodate requests from existing and new tenants and to create a small, beach-town aesthetic. 

"We used brighter colors, we added different textures, we have opened up the walkway so that light can come through," Borysiak said.

"We added a little bit of [...] green space using beach-oriented landscaping like beach grass." 

Among the amenities, the mall will include murals, sculptures and wood decking in the plaza area for fitness classes or local musicians, Borysiak said. 

In the parking area, the maximum impervious area was kept at 78.5 percent and the storm water system incorporates pervious pavers, pervious asphalt and water quality treatment measures, Borysiak said. 

City Council's approval of the changes did not come easy as several members said they were concerned about the mall's planned use of Suntree stormwater filters, designed to trap trash and other solids.

Sam Young, Marco city councilor, said the city has 1,300 of these filters which were installed incorrectly.

"And they don't work," Young said. "Why would you go to Suntree filters?"

"I couldn't support that."

Sam Young, Marco Island city councilor, said the city has 1,300 Suntree stormwater filters which don't work. "Why would you go to Suntree filters?" Young said. In the picture, Young partially covers his face with his hands during a City Council meeting on Jan. 6.

From December:Planning Board approves changes to Marco Town Center site development plan

From May:Government waste? Marco councilor calls for end of inefficient filter

Councilor Victor Rios said the filters tend to clog.

"Who is going to be responsible for cleaning them and how often?" Rios said. "Because then you get flooding."

"If you don't clean them out, specially during rainy season, you are going to flood the parking lot."

Rios said the documents provided to City Council did not say how many filters were going to be installed, how often were they going to be cleaned and who will be responsible for its maintenance. 

The mall would be in charge of cleaning them, Borysiak said.

Answering questions from city councilors, Borysiak said the filters were already approved in the original site development plan. 

"We did not change any of that," Borysiak said. "I was not aware of this issue."

The city's Planning Board approved these changes last December, the Eagle reported

City staff does not have concerns about the new SDP, Mary Holden, senior planner of the city, said during the Planing Board meeting.

City Council approved the initial site development plan in June 2018 and mall representatives submitted a new application in September of last year.