The Marco Island Planning Board met Friday morning to discuss the Land Development Code (LDC) update.

At the last City Council meeting, councilor and former Planning Board member Charlette Roman recommended that the board begin meeting twice monthly, with the second meeting of the month devoted solely to the LDC update.

Richard Cannone of Calvin, Giordano and Associates, Inc. – the consulting firm in charge of the LDC update – presented the board with the Phase One deliverables, which includes a comprehensive list of “glitches” within the current code.

The first glitch on the list is the “inconsistency between the original Deltona Deed Restrictions and the current Zoning Code,” which Cannone said was the biggest concern he heard from residents during a series of community meetings that took place in the fall.

Other notable glitches on the list include: commercial and residential design standards; calculation of garage area; residential setback requirements; encroachment of pool (or other mechanical) equipment into setback; dock permitting; and definitions, which Cannone said was the largest problem throughout the entire LDC.

The Planning Board members also discussed the portion of the LDC that requires a “wedding cake” design for buildings that are higher than two stories. The previous board discussed the wedding cake design requirement at its Jan. 9 meeting when Delcore Development, L.L.C. presented its plan to construct a four-story building at 928 Park Avenue; the building did not have a wedding cake design.

The board ultimately approved the building, but the project is in part what spurred the discussion on Friday. Tami Scott of the growth management department said revising that section of the code, as well other sections of the code that address architectural design requirements, would give developers and homeowners more guidance and freedom to construct modern, 21st century buildings.

“Our code doesn’t necessarily address the current architectural trends,” she said. “It’s getting harder and harder for the staff to review the plans. Architectural designs and trends have changes, but our code has not.”

Board member Ron Goldstein agreed.

“I don’t want the code to become so stringent that it becomes like an island-wide homeowners association,” he said. “This is not the same island from 50 years ago; the world has changed.”

Other board members argued that changing the code to allow for more modern designs would ruin the cohesiveness of the island. The board ultimately agreed to look into establishing a separate architectural design review board to address the issue.

Phase Two of the LDC update involves addressing the glitches that were identified in Phase One; in May, Cannone will present the first draft of the revised LDC, and the Planning Board will review the draft and identify any additional concerns in June. In July, the Planning Board and City Council will meet for a joint workshop to review the draft together.

The Planning Board’s next meeting is 9 a.m., March 3, in the community room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

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