Marco City Council speaks directly to county commissioners about Goodland Drive

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The Marco Island City Council had two special guests at its meeting Monday night: Collier County commissioners Donna Fiala and Bill McDaniel. The council decided to take advantage of the commissioners’ presence by opening the meeting with a discussion of Goodland Drive.

At the Feb. 6 meeting, Chair Larry Honig provided two different versions of a letter to send to the county commissioners regarding Goodland Drive; the first version included a myriad of stipulations and directives regarding the ownership and repair of the road, as well as a litany of other topics the city wants to address, while the second took a softer approach and included just a simple overview of the problem and its potential solutions.

The council could not agree on which version of the letter to send, and at the Feb. 21 meeting, the councilors agreed to individually meet with interim City Manager Guillermo Polanco to finalize the language and content of the letter, which he would then send to the county.

At Monday’s meeting, Honig said Fiala called him over the weekend and expressed her disappointment in the letter that the council ultimately sent, so he shared what he would have said in the letter had he exclusively written it.

“I believe the best solution for the Goodland community is for the county to take back the road. I believe the Goodland community deserves an elevated roadway so its citizens have unfettered access to their homes and businesses,” Honig said. “I believe that the City of Marco Island has some financial obligation even though Goodland (Drive) serves a community consisting of no Marco Island citizens. I believe the appropriate way to settle our financial obligation is to withdraw our request for the soon-to-be $2 million being held by the county.”

Councilors Victor Rios and Charlette Roman agreed.

Councilors Bob Brown and Joe Batte noted that they, too, weren’t happy with the letter the council decided to send, but they’re glad that it has at least continued the conversation, although Batte cautioned the council against making any decisions regarding the road that evening since it was not an advertised item on the agenda.

Vice-Chair Jared Grifoni agreed with Batte, and also said that it’s time for all of the councilors and commissioners to meet face to face.

“The time for back and forth letters ended a long time ago,” he said.

Councilor Howard Reed agreed, and noted that Fiala and McDaniel’s attendance at the meeting was a good first step.

McDaniel then addressed the council and said he, too, wants to get everybody in the same room.

“What I singularly heard across the board was the want to communicate,” he said, “and that is what I believe that we as elected officials…need to have. You can rest assured that I’m here to work with you on all the issues. There are a lot of issues that the residents of Marco Island have and…that’s what we’re here for.”

In other business

The council approved an ordinance establishing a moratorium on the transfer of density credits 4-3, with Honig, Brown and Batte dissenting. The council also deferred an ordinance establishing a year-long moratorium on the establishment or operation of medical marijuana facilities, and tabled an ordinance pertaining to on-street parking.

City Council’s next meeting is 5:30 p.m. March 20 in the community room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

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