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.
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: 1 per 60 square feet for public use areas including outdoor eating areas or 1 per 2 seats, whichever is greater and for non-public areas (kitchen, storage freezer, etc.) 1 per 200 square feet.
In 2004 the relationship between seats and parking changed as follows:
- Ordinance 2004-01: One (1) parking space per three (3) seats. The change increased the seats by 50% and reduced the parking requirement by 33%.
- Ordinance 2006-01: One (1) parking space per four seats. The change increased seating by 33% and reduced parking requirements by 25%.
- Ordinance 2010-03: One (1) parking space 200 square feet for both indoor and outdoor seating. That equates to 7 people per vehicle.
Increased seating by 75% and reduced the parking requirement by 43%.
From 2004 to 2010 the seating capacity increased 250% for restaurants and the parking requirement to accommodate that increase decreased by 71%.
- Ordinance 2014-10: One (1) parking space per 4 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 (1) parking space per two (2) seats to one (1) parking space per four (4) seats. That reduced their parking requirement for outdoor parking requirement by 50%. The current indoor seating is requirement is one (1) parking space per 250 square feet. That parking requirement equates to nine (9) 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 Islands 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.