Under the leadership of Councilor Petricca and Councilor Batte, our City Council must be commended for recognizing the inadmissibility of the proposed Marriott expansion petition. Their petition was rejected because it had been written by the petitioner, the Marriott itself. Hopefully, this means the City of Marco Island is finally starting to demand respect for and compliance with our laws, agreements and procedures. Regarding the latter, the correct procedure is contained in the mission statement of our Planning Board that reads in pertinent part: “…THE PLANNING BOARD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR [reviewing Comprehensive Plan changes] AND REVIEWING ALL OTHER PETITIONS. THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE FORWARDED TO CITY COUNCIL.”
In this instance, the particular ordinance written by the Marriott had never been seen or vetted by the Planning Board. It was only assumed to contain language and conditions suggested earlier by the Planning Board. Most adults know the consequences of the verb “assume”. Therefore, it should be reassuring to the community that our City Council did not allow the Marriott’s written ordinance to skip being reviewed and recommended by our Planning Board, or at minimum, crafted by city staff.
Additionally, I would like to correct some misinformation being distributed regarding the above subject:
- It borders on the disingenuous to simply report the City Council did not allow the public to speak. In truth, the City Attorney advised the Council that, because the Marriott issue was re-scheduled to a future date certain, public comment on the issue should wait and take place on the date certain in order for those comments to go on the record. Council then correctly withheld public commentary until such date.
- When I questioned Councilor Petricca, he re-stated he would not support any ordinance written by a petitioner. He feels, (as do I), that Marco ordinances should be written by the Marco administration and not by the petitioner. This is quite different from “he won’t support anything submitted by the Marriott” as has been reported elsewhere.
- Finally, there is the misconception, also reported elsewhere, that the reason Marco has two hearings for an ordinance is “to make changes and come back at the second hearing for more vetting.” Not quite. Changes and vetting are the primary responsibilities of City Staff and the Planning Board before a petition is cleared to appear before Council. Of course, the City Council can then also edit if they so wished. The true reason for Marco having two ordinance readings is simply that it’s required by State law, (FL Statute 163.3225, Public Hearings).
Thanks much for allowing me to “vent” a little.