Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Letter to the Editor: Ann Sepe and Alfred Marchand



Which Plan: Midtown Development Plan (2012) meets Veterans Community Park Master Plan (2009)?

As past board members of Marco Island Property Owners (MIPO) we do not know where to begin with regard to city sponsored Plans. We have reviewed the Veterans Community Park Master Plan, as well as, recommendations and options brought forth by the Park and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) to date. The 2009 Master Plan offered many scenarios including band shell, restrooms and parking with sensitivity to maintaining green space. www.cityofmarcoisland.com/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=16152

We also were intimately informed by city staff of the Midtown Development Plan (2012) as members of MIPO. Today we understand the city manager will act as agent to seal the deal in a recently disclosed public/private partnership to assist a developer build a hotel within the Midtown Development Plan in exchange for city selling Veterans Community Park development rights (density credits) and granting waterfront easement/access.

Our first outrage: the Midtown Development Plan (2012) clearly shows there would be NO transfer of development rights from Veterans Community Park as shown on city website. (See document page 12). www.cityofmarcoisland.com/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=9076

The city under Mr. Hermstadt disregards the will of residents regarding growth management as applied to Veterans Community Park. A few months ago he personally informed citizens his recommendation to build municipal facilities at Veterans Community Park; today we have a formal public/private partnership proposal providing the developer waterfront access and retention pond. The developer also gets development rights the city is willing to exchange for a band shell, perimeter parking and restrooms.

Do we really have a Midtown Development Plan? Are the city and some councilors willing to secure a deal at a grossly discounted value of development rights to fund the Veterans Community Park Master Plan? If this is the course council wishes to pursue, then seriously consider the fair market value of 10 acres of commercial development rights in the Midtown District. The valuation of development rights is NOT predicated on what the developer can afford or based on the construction cost of park enhancements. If the city manager continues promoting this deal, he is grossly deficient in meeting his fiduciary responsibility to the owners (citizens) of Veterans Community Park.

Some councilors, once citizen advocates held in high regard, have now forgotten the specific intent of Veterans Community Park development rights discussed in 2006 and reflected in the Midtown Development Plan of 2012.

This represents a basic disregard of city endorsed plans and more importantly a bad deal.

Ann Sepe and Alfred Marchand

Marco Island

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