Marco Island approves resolutions to move forward the construction of Fire Station 50

The city of Marco Island plans to replace Fire Station 50 on the City Hall campus with a new fire station and emergency center.

Marco Island City Council approved unanimously Monday two resolutions to move forward a project to replace Fire Station 50 on the City Hall campus with a new station and emergency center.

City Council first approved a permit for the proposed building to exceed the city's 35-foot height limit by 3.5 feet. The additional height is due to the proposed base flood elevations needed to comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations, according to a city staff report.

City Council also approved a site development plan amendment for the new fire station after the demolition of the existing one.

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The new station will be approximately 22,366 square feet with administrative offices, meeting rooms, sleeping quarters and bays for the equipment, according to a city staff report. It is estimated to cost more than $10.4 million and as much as $11.7 million, according to a cost opinion made by BSSW Architects.

The amendment covers not only the landscape plan for the new station but also the existing landscaping around City Hall and the parking lot in front of City Hall, according to the report.

Miguel Carballo, fleet and facilities manager with the city, said the city would lose $1 million in FEMA grants if the height of the building was not approved as requested.

"The effect is we would have to redesign portions of the building, primarily the roof, and it will affect funding for the project," Carballo said.

Carballo said the building's slanted metal roof will help protect the building from strong hurricanes.

"This is going to be the most resilient building on the island," City Manager Mike McNees said.

City Councilor Erik Brechnitz said the building did not have to be as tall as proposed.

"The only reason we need the height (as proposed) is because that is how you designed it," Brechnitz said.

Brechnitz said he would vote for the conditional use permit but that the city should apply to itself the same kind of standards it applies to business owners and residents.

"Gee whiz, it kind of makes us look bad," Brechnitz said.

On Jan. 15, the planning board voted 5-0 to approve the conditional use permit and the site development plan.

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