Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Marco Island City Council



By Pat Newman

There were plenty of waves Tuesday night at Marco Island’s City Council meeting when the resolution to approve a temporary use permit for construction staging at Rose Marina came up for discussion. Ultimately, the 50-year old family-owned marina, was approved for using lots zoned “residential” for boat storage while constructing a new storage facility in a vote of 4-3. The lots are owned by Rose Marina, but Magnolia Court area homeowners argued that deed restrictions imposed by the Mackle Brothers, Marco’s original developers, and currently MICA (Marco Island Civic Association) allows only single family residential homes on the property.

Craig Woodward, attorney for Rose Marina, argued that the city code allows residential lots to be used for parking, noting several locations on the island where this has been done. “Our primary goal is to use the lots closest to the construction site itself. This is a temporary use to get us through construction,” he explained. The plan calls for keeping as many boats on-site as possible; creating minimal noise and disturbance in the area designed to hold boats during the building phase. He added that the plan was to keep the marina as operational as possible during the $15 million renovation which could take more than two years for ultimate completion. With the boat storage facility topping the list, the need for stacking boats on racks would be completed expeditiously. Other phases could be accommodated on the marina premises without “staging.” “We want to do what is in the best interest of the entire island,” Woodward added.

Striking a nerve with a number of neighboring residents was the removal, or re-nesting of burrowing owls located on the residential lots. While an “owl expert” testified that the proper permitting had been followed by the petitioners, there may have been a slight glitch in the paperwork issued by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. However, Woodward stated that “Owls were not destroyed; owls were re-nested.” This is an acceptable practice, and according to owl specialists, the Conservation Commission has guidelines to protect the species.”

In other business, council was briefed on the status of the Smokehouse Bridge project. It looks like the end of August before two lanes are open, according to Howard Murrell of Quality Enterprises, bridge developer. He acknowledged that the bridge is “the type of project with a lot of unknowns.” He originally estimated the construction time at 10 months but the presence of gas lines, underwater concrete and weather has pushed completion out about a month.


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