Letters to the Editor, March 6

Marco Eagle

How not to solve a parking problem, but create one

The Marco Island City Council determined that the city has a parking problem. Rather than determine the cause of the problem, the path they chose was to appoint members of the community to a parking solutions committee to solve the problem. Their assignment was to locate areas in the city where additional parking can become available to create parking spaces for the businesses.

That is an admirable approach, but it only places a Band-Aid solution on the problem, until you understand the cause of the parking problem. The cause of the problem, as I see it, businesses (restaurants) wanted to expand (more table and chairs) and the City Council continued to accommodate their wishes.

Ed toon

Let me explain why that is the case. It all started in year 2004. Predominately, sit down restaurants, wanted to increase seating in their businesses, so the parking requirements per seats was changed, as follows.

City’s first parking ordinance 2001-16: One per 60 square feet for public use areas including outdoor eating areas or one per two seats, whichever is greater and for non-public areas (kitchen, storage freezer, etc.) one per 200 square feet.

In 2004 the relationship between seats and parking changed as follows …

Ordinance 2004-01: One parking space per three seats. The change increased the seats by 50 percent and reduced the parking requirement by 33 percent.

Ordinance 2006-01: One parking space per four seats. The change increased seating by 33 percent and reduced parking requirements by 25 percent.

Ordinance 2010-03: One parking space 200 square feet for both indoor and outdoor seating. That equates to seven people per vehicle. Increased seating by 75 percent and reduced the parking requirement by 43 percent.

From 2004 to 2010 the seating capacity increased 250 percent for restaurants and the parking requirement to accommodate that increase decreased by 71 percent.

Ordinance 2014-10: One parking space per four seats. All restaurants prior to this ordinance were grandfather in for present seating and parking requirements. The passage of this ordinance stopped the bleeding for parking spaces for future restaurants and those who wanted to increase seating.

Ordinance 2017-10: For shopping center the parking requirements for outdoor seating was changed from one parking space per two seats to one parking space per four seats. That reduced their parking requirement for outdoor parking requirement by 50 percent. The current indoor seating is requirement is one parking space per 250 square feet. That parking requirement equates to nine people per vehicle per parking space for indoor seating.

Once you comprehend the above chronological sequence of restaurant seating and parking relationship adopted by City Councils to accommodate the restaurants wishes, the only conclusion you can arrive at; City Council is the culprit in creating the city of Marco Island’s parking problems for sit-down restaurants.

To date the city has not been able to get the restaurants to supply the information, either on a voluntary or formally requested basis to ascertain where the parking problems are in the city.

The important information requested by city is the number of indoor and outdoor seats, number of onsite parking spaces and number of employees. The businesses (restaurants) have requested from the city to provide more parking spaces to help them, but refuse to cooperate with the city to supply specifics. For them it is a one-way street, they (and some councilor’s) accuse the city of government overreach, but look to city government to help provide additional parking spaces to service their needs.

Amadeo Petricca, Marco Island

Student deserved military burial

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy in Parkland has elicited many forms of response. One such response was an effort to get 100,000 signatures before student and Junior ROTC recruit Peter Wang’s burial so that it could be one with full military honors.

Peter did what very few have the courage, the presence of mind and the willingness to do: He acted against his self-interest. Peter did not run away from the gunfire. Peter held the door open so that many of his fellow classmates could pass through to safety. In doing that selfless and heroic act, Peter was murdered were he stood.

Peter is a testament to his family’s love and taking care of each other. Peter is a testament to the training he received in Junior ROTC. Peter is a testament to what it means to be an amazing, loving human being.

Peter gave his all so that others could live.

Now, what have we given? It seems we couldn’t even find the time to go online and petition the White House to approve a full military honor burial for Peter. Imagine, we are so busy, so burdened in our daily rituals, so involved with incredibly important matters that there wasn’t time to use our cellphones to help honor this young man’s contribution to our lives.

How can we possibly wonder why these type of events happen? The question is, why don’t they happen more often given our level of effort to get involved?

Lee Kurasowicz, Marco Island