In 2008, after considerable review by federal, state and city agencies, the Marco Island Yacht Club (MIYC) received permission for the addition of 35 slips as they sought to provide more dockage for the club’s membership. Fast forward twelve years, and the time arrived to move forward on the club’s plans to add that additional dockage.
In the fall of 2019, the club presented a request for modification of the original plans. The variations reduced the original 35 slips to a total of 27 slips, five of which would be maintained in ownership by MIYC for the public’s use – those visiting the facilities for lunch, mariners wishing to visit the island for a few days or those in transit to other ports of call.
The new dockage will sit above what is known as a “submerged land lease.” The Yacht Club will own the physical dockage and its amenities, while the State of Florida owns the land below the water. Every five years, that lease is reviewed for renewal to ensure the entity leasing the land below the surface of the water is maintaining it to high standards.
“We finally have reached a time when proceeding forward makes good sound fiscal sense for our membership, while meeting the demands for a product that we would be offering to those wishing to make that investment in the amenities we have in the Club,” said David Everitt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MIYC.
On December 4, the Marco Island Planning Board approved two of the three agenda items which would help move that dream of the MIYC’s membership forward for the improvements regarding the offerings of the MIYC. The well maintained and striking complex serves as a gateway of sorts to the island, as it sits at the base of the south side of the S.S. Jolley Bridge.
The first agenda item to deal with this project only recognized the extension of the usage of the property, simply seeking to expand that use into the Marco River and accommodate more vessels, including short term mooring for non-member vessels which has been a goal of the Yacht Club since they were approved to do the similar project in 2008—but never went forward with those plans. MIYC has agreed to willingly limit the number of members so as not to increase the intensity on the upland uses as part of this project. This first agenda item easily passed by a 6-0 vote of the board.
The second agenda item dealt with extension of the proposed dockage beyond the 30-foot maximum already allowed by City Code. However, that 30-foot maximum, as pointed out by City Staff, was intended to apply to docks within canals on the island and not meant to apply to “open water.” The request would extend 332-feet beyond the normal 30-feet called for in the code.
Board member Edward Issler questioned the impact on navigation, but it was pointed out that even with the requested extension, 540 feet of clearance still would be provided to the nearest seawall.
Questions also arose as to any restrictions regarding flushing action within the canal or the obstruction of views by neighbors. Craig Woodward, attorney for MIYC, explained that his client retained their right to build out along their own “riparian rights lines.” Water flows and “flushing” were items that were reviewed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as part of its review of the project’s application and no problems were identified.
Joyce Ganda, who lives on the opposite side of Martinique Court away from the yacht club, came forward to voice her concerns about the project and the views that may be affected as well as the impact on wildlife. She also brought up safety concerns regarding the safe operations of marine craft. The vote on the actual extension of the dockage passed by a vote of 4-2 with members Issler and Bailey in opposition.
The third agenda item concerning the project dealt with approval of the proposed site plan including changes to the property layout, land based, as well as stationary and floating docks. This would tie together the joint agreements between both the Marco Island Marina Association and the Marco Island Yacht Club. The Yacht Club and the Marina Association share parking and other amenities as they co-exist next to each other.
During this portion of the discussion, the impact of environmental issues and impaired views once again would be raised. This time, Wayne Woodring, owner of 1293 Martinique Court, came forward to speak to both those issues. “I don’t think these big yachts are good for Marco Island,” said Woodring.
Board member Tom Swartz was swayed by fellow board member Jason Bailey, who previously had voiced concern about the impact on views. “I don’t want to muddy the waters, but I’m going to have to vote no on this,” said Swartz. Bailey and Swartz were joined by fellow members Ed Issler and Marilyn Dahl, who also voted to reject approval of the resolution to approve the Site Development Plan.
Although the issue of the extension of the dock was passed by a 4-2 vote, the Site Development Plan now must be revisited.