Marco Island assisted living facility discussion pushed to Jan. 22

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
Walt Chancey, owner and developer of The Watermark of Marco Island project, said he wants to build a facility with assisted living, independent living and memory care capabilities at the corner of Heathwood Drive and San Marco Road.

The Marco Island City Council has decided to postpone discussions about a proposed assisted living facility until next month.

The Council made the determination at Monday's meeting and cited the need for additional time to review a recommendations from city staff and the planning board that were handed over less than a week ago.

Councilor Victor Rios said the city also owed the community to have as many people in attendance and have an opportunity to weigh-in on such an important topic.

In case you missed it:Assisted living facility's fate now in Marco City Council's hands

And:Planning board approves PUD application for Marco Island assisted living facility

The Watermark at Marco Island has proposed constructing a 166-unit, three floor assisted living facility on five acres at Heathwood Drive and San Marco Road. Those five acres are currently owned by NCH, which wants to use the proceeds from the sale of those five acres to construct a new 12,000-square-foot urgent care facility on the remaining seven acres of the parcel.

During Friday's marathon Planning Board meeting, its members took nearly six hours to issue a recommendation to rezone the property from C-1, commercial, to a planned unit development district.

As part of its recommendation, the board issued additional requirements such as increasing the size of a linear park on the property that would also be open to the public and adding more height restrictions. The rezoned property would also not be allowed for psychiatric treatment or drug or alcohol rehabilitation.

The board previously recommended approval of the rezoning but its decision was nullified after it was determined that noticing requirements were not met.

This led to a rehearing of the subject on Friday and resulted in substantially more input for surrounding community members and objections to the proposal.

City staff has recommended denial of the project because it felt that there were too many unknowns and potential unintended consequences.

The Villas at Waterside condominiums had several of its tenants speak out against the project after they did not receive notice for the first hearing. There concerns centered around potential impacts to property values and increased safety risks due to added traffic from the facilities. 

After the council elected to continue the discussion to Jan. 22, Councilor Chartette Roman suggested that the city look at requiring a neighborhood informational meeting to ensure that residents are given proper notice and informed about key projects in their neighborhoods.

More:Council supports changes LDC code change that would aid assisted living facility buildout

More:Planning board delays decision on proposed assisted living facilities on Marco Island