Sunday, January 16, 2022

Council Moves Ahead Alone on Assisted Living

At the recent Marco Island City Council Meeting, councilors discussed the contentious matter of whether or not to return the issue of an Assisted Living Facility on Marco Island to the Planning Board for further review.

Councilor Larry Honig raised the matter during council communications. Honig was concerned the council may have acted in haste overturning the recommendations from both staff and the Planning Board to not approve the proposed amendment to the Land Development Code.

“I fear the consequences of our action may have been overlooked,” commented Honig. “We may have been asking things to happen which we will not be happy with in the future,” he said. Honig’s concerns arose from conversations he has held since council’s vote on September 4, with both the public and members of the Planning Board.

“We may have made an emotional response to complicated issue,” said Councilor Howard Reed.

Honig would have preferred to see the issue sent back to the Planning Board. “Planning Board members understand we want them to find a way to get this done,” said Honig. However, Honig was quite clear that he didn’t want to see it languish at the Planning Board level, but instead have it “fast tracked.” His desire was to see them fix the issues which are of concern to them and bring it back with “dispatch.”

The city attorney advised that council had erred when it approved a “conditional use” caveat to move it forward the way they did. The attorney explained that injection of that provision would have required an entirely different standard for advertising and announcing the change. The entire matter would have to go back out and be re-advertised in the proper manner.

The city attorney also cautioned council that staff and his office needed time to review the impact and necessary conditions regarding the changes. “There were no conditions as relates to the conditional use being identified,” he said.

Councilor Honig moved to have the issue remanded back to the Planning Board with Councilor Victor Rios seconding that motion. Councilors Reed, Rios and Honig voted in the affirmative, while Councilors Roman, Brown and Grifoni opposed.

City Council will now wait for staff to move forward with the appropriate reviews and advertising, which may come up by the second meeting in October for its first reading. Regardless, the Planning Board will be denied a second opportunity to review council’s concerns and their own.

The proposal they are considering would place an 81-bed facility on one and a third acres abutting a residential area on South Barfield.

Future of Assisted Living and old Sanitsole Building still in limbo. Photo by Steve Stefanides

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