Coastal Breeze News » Letters to the Editor Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:15:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Letter to the Editor: Andrea Cooper Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:41:00 +0000 Dear City Council,

I recently emailed the council with a plea for you to reconsider down sizing the Marco Island Farmers Market. Thanks to those of you who responded. Since then, I have spoken to many of the shop owners of the stores in the Marco Town Center plaza.  They tell me that their business is more profitable the day of the farmers market.  They make more money because people from Marco Island and Naples shop in the stores and eat in their restaurants after the market.

I encourage the council to slow down on making this very important decision and take time to query the island’s business owners before assuming that these retailers and restaurateurs feel that the market is competitive. They tell me the market compliments their businesses!  These businesses may actually loose money if the market looses it’s “flair”, ambiance, social amenity and local draw.  If the council reduces the market due to fear of business competition, will other fairs, events, and socials be limited?  Will the Seafood Festival and Marco Island Center for the Arts Shows be prohibited, for example?

If parking is an issue, has the council explored solutions to this problem?  Perhaps:  asking the Police Chief for suggestions; making Park Avenue handicapped parking only; prohibiting parking on Park Avenue? instituting a small fee for parking, reducing market hours such as 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.?   Rather than reducing the number of vendors, has the council considered raising the season fee to ensure that the market is economically profitable for the city?  If the number of vendors are greatly reduced, many residents and visitors may think it’s not worth the extra stop.  Many people may not make the trip from Naples which would translate into less shopping and eating out on Marco.

The Marco Island Farmers Market is famous!  My many friends, who own seasonal homes on Marco Island, have been emailing and calling me from the summer homes – very upset that the market could change. They love the market and count on it as an weekly social, shopping, and fun event!

It’s widely know as the best farmers market in Florida.  The city should be proud and flattered by this and work hard to save this unique treasure, this well attended and beloved tradition. Please take time to survey the businesses; to hold a public hearing for residents; to explore solutions to perceived problems; and to see that this market may actually become profitable for the city with new management strategies. Please help save this island tradition.

Thank you so much, Andrea Cooper


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Farmer’s Market Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:39:35 +0000 There is a clear misconception that Farmers’ Markets should be merely fruit and vegetable stands.  This perspective is looking through a limited lens of commerce versus one of community, so let’s take a step back.  Here, in Marco Island, we cater to both the local and transient guest, and we are truly one family.  These once-a-week markets for five hours are really about social connection.  Yes, radishes and cucumbers used to take center stage, but they have happily made room for flavored honeys, fresh pastas, locally carved sustainable artifacts, wildlife photography and custom terrariums.  As diversity started to populate the white tents, so did the energy of the street scape.  What we have now is a return to the past where people walk, converse, laugh, taste, and become inspired, and we should be proud.  In our world of ever present technology and instant gratification, we need to hold onto the spaces that cater to the profound necessity of human connection through local people pooling their talents and sharing them with their community.  So, let’s not make this about parking and competition and instead, remember these weekly five hours are about branding our town as an outdoor classroom where everyone can share, learn, and work together to make something great.
Submitted by:
Allegra Parisi
Director of Urban Lifestyles and Trends
Five Point Communities
Aliso Viejo, CA
Local address:  1464 Collingswood Ave., Marco Island, FL

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Letter To The Editor: Pat Berry Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:11:29 +0000 The 15th Southwest Florida Soapfest has come and gone. We made some changes, added an extra day and it all paid off…what a great event.

Each year we thank over 100 individuals and organizations who donate to this wonderful cause – whether it be their talent, time, money, food, gift certificates, housing, vehicles, etc. All of us at Soapfest feel very privileged to be a part of a community that pulls together as the Soapfest cogs move to make this wheel turn.

We had a group of 9 wonderful actors who donated their time and supported us with bundles of enthusiasm and energy. They flew in from New York and LA and added so much to this weekend. We had 50 volunteers who came from England to Illinois to Idaho and Marco Island. We had donations from so many wonderful restaurants on the Island. We had local businesses and individuals donate gift certificates and various other auction items. We had posters in practically every shop on Marco Island. It has not been easy but the outcome has been well worth the hard work – a fun event with lots of fine memories culminating in local children benefiting. Whether you’re a Soap fan or not you have supported a very, very worthwhile cause.

On behalf of all of us at Soapfest we thank the following for their generous contributions;
Bistro Soleil, Capt. Brien’s Seafood and Raw Bar, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Centennial Bank, Ciao Bella, Clausen Properties, Davide, Dunkin Donuts, Marco Island Princess, Anne Henegan, CJ’s On The Bay, Marco Movies, ABC and CBS Soaps In Depth, Empire Bagel Factory, Gino’s Trattoria, Hoot’s, Island Gypsy, J. Robert, Mango’s, McDonald’s, Marco Island Yacht Club, Paradise Seafood, Philly Grill, Porky’s, Publix, Red Rooster, Soap Opera Digest, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Steve Reynolds, Stonewall’s, Vandy’s 5 Brothers, Verdi’s Bistro, and Winn Dixie.

As we reminisce, everyone will have his or her own memories. What stands out to me year after year is the generosity that this event creates and the spirit that everyone demonstrates to make this happen – and I really mean everyone. Thank you for caring, sharing, and giving – until next time, may this year be kind to you.

Many, Many Thanks,
Pat Berry and Soapfest Staff

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Letter to the Editor: Larry Sacher Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:08:20 +0000 Recently, both Councilors Joe Batte and Bob Brown announced their intention to seek a second term on the Marco Island City Council. Marco Island NEEDS Joe Batte and Bob Brown! Having had the pleasure of serving on Marco Island City Council for a year and a half now with Joe Batte as well as the time Bob Brown has been on since replacing a former Councilor, I not only heartily endorse their  decision  to run for a 2nd term, but I also want to urge the Marco Island community to get behind Joe and Bob and support their candidacy.  My reasons for supporting these gentlemen are many, but just to name a few: (1) following a most contentious election in November of 2012 during which the 3 incumbents running for reelection were all defeated by 4 newcomers, Joe served as Chairman of City Council; Joe’s tenure was probably most notable for the welcoming attitude he created for the public which is still witnessed today based on the routine sizable crowds that attend both Council, as well as other Board and Committee meetings; (2) Both have consistently voted based on what they felt was best for ALL of Marco Island, not just either their own interests, and certainly not for the alleged “special interests” that we have on the Island; (3) Both men’s commitment to serving Marco Island is probably best summed-up by their frequent attendance at virtually all Committee and Board meetings when they are quite frequently among a very few of their colleagues. I know that their work isn’t done yet and both are willing to continue to contribute for the betterment of Marco Island.

Joe Batte’s  and Bob Brown’s outstanding efforts as efficient “get-it-done” Members of Marco City Council will assure four more years of outstanding and transparent leadership for the citizens of our Island paradise.  VOTE FOR JOE BATTE AND BOB BROWN!

Larry Sacher
Vice Chairman
Marco Island City Council

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Letter to the Editor: The Marriott – Scott Shigley Sat, 31 May 2014 11:31:51 +0000 It might be time to take a deep breath and consider what can be done if the PUD amendment the Marriott is asking for is denied. From what I have read and heard if the amendment is turned down the following things can still take place without any further consideration from the city council:

The Marriott can add the additional rooms they want
The Marriott can add extra meeting space
The Marriott can add extra parking
The Marriott can add elevated stadium type lighting on the tennis courts

The following things that the Marriott has offered to do if the amendment is approved will not have to be done:

Landscaping of the parking lot area above and beyond what is required by city code
Elimination of the stadium type lights for the tennis courts
The Marriott will not have to contribute to any additional landscaping on city property

Additionally, if the proposed amendment is not passed the new structure will be 11 feet shorter than the two existing towers. How that visual oddity benefits the residents of this island I’m not sure.

Change happens. New people will come to our island much as we all did at one time. More guest rooms are coming. More parking is coming. The 2001 PUD allows it. If you want stadium lights along Collier Boulevard, if you want the bare minimum in landscaping along the Marriott parking area then by all means oppose the proposed amendment. Just remember you had a chance to improve upon what was already allowed, but decided you opposed any change.

I support the proposed amendment. I hope the city council and all reasonable citizens will allow the council to hear the proposed amendment and let it move forward after appropriate public comment.

Scott Shigley
Marco Island

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Letter to the Editor: The Marriott – Frank R. Recker Sat, 31 May 2014 11:28:50 +0000 As a former Council member and President of the San Marco Residences Association, the commercial/residential building that abuts the Marriott parking lot on the South, I want to express both my personal support, and the support of our Association, for this project.  This is my first public comment on any issue since I left office in November 2012.
I have quietly observed the multitude of issues that have confronted Council, from a distance.  It seems as though the present council acts as it should:  attempting to be objective, unbiased, cooperative, thoughtful and deliberative, almost to a fault, and not allowing itself to be swayed on any issue because of a vocal minority dissent from the audience.
I have, until now, refrained from adding my views or perspectives on any issue confronting the new council.  But the proposed Marriott project has generated a great deal of interest and input, including some who suggest dire consequences should the project be approved.  But is the decision really so difficult?  This is NOT another sewer debate.  We made that decision, it’s done, we have a better Island infrastructure, and the past hostilities and debate between citizens on that issue are over.  We are a no longer a tense, split community, nor should we be. 
Surprisingly, the Marriott project appears to have generated the same level of debate, largely because a negative, vociferous number of people want to maintain control of the speaker’s podium, or an Island group wants to be recognized as a political force by presenting psychometrically invalid polls, that also include non taxpayers.  Taken together, this might give the APPEARANCE that the ‘citizens’ of Marco are opposed.  In reality, in the quiet of their homes, condos, or northern retreats during the summer, or just working to make a living, I am convinced that the vast majority of the Island supports the Marriott, but as in the ‘sewer’ debates of 2007/2008, the vocal minority comprise the loudest contingency against it.  And, what average citizen wants to challenge a loud, often impolite and emotional, group on any issue?  
Lets be honest with ourselves.  The Marriott disturbs no one’s life or existence.  It enhances them.  It’s just beautiful to look at; we see happy adults and children who are guests walking to our various businesses, and simply enjoying themselves.  We have friends employed there who love their employer.  Whenever I travel across these United States, a conversation inevitably leads to the “Marco Marriott,’ and their past, pleasant experiences on Marco while at the Marriott.  And everyone I meet expresses envy that I can say I live on Marco Island.  Indeed, most of the initial favorable impressions about Marco are generated by the Marriott or the Hilton.  A large segment of our condos and homes were built because at some point in time visitors wanted to insure that they had a ‘piece of paradise,’ just as many of our vacant lots are purchased by future residents.  
I visited Marco for the first time to see my father during Christmas, 1996.  Both of my parents were employed by the Marriott at that time.  My father (in his 70′s at the time) worked in the gift shop, and my step mother was a waitress at the former breakfast cafe.  They loved their existence, and the aura was always positive.  My impressions of Marco were buttressed by the “Marriott experiences” of my parents.  We moved here 8 months later, just in time to vote for City hood.  
I look at this Marriott project with excitement and anticipation.  An even more beautiful, upscale, JWMarriott will be there for me to enjoy, if even only at an occasional lunch or dinner at Quinn’s orKurrents.  And I anticipate encountering even more conversation as my travels continue to take me around the country.  Marco Island, that beautiful place with a gorgeous “JW” on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.  The results also include jobs, tax income to the City, ongoing positive attitudes about our Island, a great community asset, an increase in our land values, and the pride we all feel when someone who isn’t fortunate enough to live on Marco expresses their delight in our ability to do so because they have stayed ‘at the Marriott.’  
As I recall, during the election in 2012, the Marriott’s intentions to upgrade and upscale their property were smiled upon by all Council candidates.  So the public knew what they were voting for.  I just don’t understand why we, as Marco Islanders, sometimes seem to take issue with virtually ANY change on the Island, regardless of its obvious objectives or benefits.  Of course, there are many retired people from the north who just want attention, any way they can get it.  But the majority of Marco Islanders want what is sensible, an enhancement to our Island, and the ability to share our Island and allow more people to experience what we already know:  Marco Island is an idyllic place to be, to live life as a resident, tourist, or conventioneer.  But these voices, like mine, are unable to attend every meeting, write letters to the Editor, much less make time to go the podium at a Council meeting.
We have an opportunity to support an enterprise that has benefited our Island for many years, in many ways.  We could not be so foolish as to reject this opportunity, in order to satisfy a segment of the population that has too much time to develop negative hypotheses and predictions.  
Let’s celebrate the Marriott’s trust, previous long history of being a perfect and considerate neighbor, and its love of Marco.  When we wake up after it’s completely done, we will see why there should have been such little debate on the issue!
And we will all be proud.
Council decisions are never easy, especially when confronted by a disgruntled, angry group of folks who want their voices heard.  But Council decisions reflect the result of careful analysis and what they believe to be for the benefit of our community as a whole.  When any vote is taken, some are happy, and some are angry.  But give Council the benefit of its own analysis and decision making and attempt to refrain from personal attacks or threats to ‘run them out.’  Their pay is minimal, the time they expend is enormous, there is no ‘self gain,’ and, they live here too!
Thank you.
Frank R. Recker

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Letter to the Editor: Al Diaz Thu, 29 May 2014 14:30:27 +0000 I’ve been following with much interest the barrage of letters in the newspapers from residents against the Marriot expansion and I felt that it was time that I send a letter from the silent majority.

I have been a resident of Marco Island now for 25 years and have previously been employed at the Hilton and Radisson Resorts prior to becoming a general manager of two beachfront condominium properties.

Over the past 25 years I’ve met many people who have visited the island as guests and renters at the two resorts and condominiums properties where I’ve worked. Many of these people went on to purchase property on the island.

It was tourism that first attracted them to our island and that eventually led them to invest in our island paradise.

It’s amazing how many people that I speak with that do not realize the impact that tourism has on our island and state. Florida is only one of seven state with No State Income Tax and that is due to the revenues generated by tourism. Additionally all of the resorts on our island provide tax revenues that offset our own property taxes.

People also don’t realize that the bed tax revenues generated by our island hotels pays for the cost of on going maintenance and beach re­ nourishment of our beautiful beaches.

I would like to inquire if any of our residents truly believes that we would have the variety of wonderful restaurants and services on this island if it weren’t for tourism?

For the first time in my 25 years as a resident of Marco Island I had the pleasure of staying at the Marriott resort this past weekend as part of our Condominium Association Managers of Marco Island group meeting.

My experience further reinforced my belief that the Marriott Resort is a true asset to our community and I urge the City Council to approve the Planning Board’s recommendations to allow the Marriott expansion.


Al Diaz



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Letter to the Editor: In Memory of Mike and JW…. Thu, 29 May 2014 14:20:33 +0000 City Manager Roger Hemstadt visited our Rotary Club lunch and gave a fine speech. In the Q&A a hot topic was the issue over the Marriott expansion.

Frankly the sentiment seemed to be: Why is this even an issue? The Marriott plan would boost the local economy. So why pay attention to any spoilers?

Over the past few days I’ve chewed over the nature of the spoilers, points a, b & c.

a)     Always we have some Luddites, mad about innovations, more technology. They complain, “It’s too much traffic, tourist, etc.” I suppose these luddites are befuddled by the competence of the City and the Marriott.

b)    Egocentric judgmental. These people strive for authority, speak in patronizing and often express how offended. Most of us common folks know that running the Marriott is its own business. My response to all the offenses is, “So what?”

c)     Personal attention. I suppose most of the spoilers don’t have any decent hobbies like golf, fishing or (me) chess. For something to do they complain on issues, hoping they will appear to be important. OK, I’ll shake your hand, pat your back and explain how foolish your opinions.

Roger-&-WadeSo this morning I’m pondering and pecking on my iPad. As usual, settled in the lanai, gently rocking my lounge, sipping a good cup of coffee – no cream or sugar – observing the stars fade as the dawn resolves a new day. The little “pet” lizard pumps out its throat, not afraid at all. Now is the time to self-analyze my own emotions on Marco Island.

Two men have come to mind: Mike Minozzi and John Willard.

You probably know what a great hero was Mike Minozzi. For me Mike was mentor at Rotary and at city council taught me much of civic affairs.

My emotions were somewhat different back in the ‘90s. After many attempts over the years, the City of Marco Island was established. I was against it from the git-go and tried to have a reverse vote. After all we’ve got enough government with federal, state and county, why the heck add on a city bureaucracy. Mike and I talked. Although we disagreed on policies, I admired Mike so much I always supported and voted for him in elections. On one Rotary service we picked up trash on Saturday morns and continued the debate.

After a few years I understood I was simply wrong on the City. And now looking back, the nature of Marco Island is so much better, thanks to Mike. For the Rotary Club and the City Council, you know, we really miss Mike Minozzi.

Now the other name is John Willard, nickname JW, who created much wealth on Marco Island.

How so?

Well, it was done by the economic revolution explained well by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776.

Mike-Minozzi-Simplified here’s the essence. In the hills of Scotland came the birth of industry. Yep, finally we were set free from the feudal system of the dark Middle Ages. Industry means all types of factories and services in which wealth is created. The revolutionary lightening bolts come from unknown, hopeful, dreaming entrepreneurs, most of which fail but a few succeed. Each enterprise has got to stay on his or her toes because always the threat of better competition with new innovations. And what has absolutely got to be done is keep the customers happy. What a neat deal!

John Willard was one of those lightening bolts, and the wealth he created splurged all over Marco Island.

Compare the pictures, then and now. About 50 years ago we were a little fishing village not much going on. The community was short on groceries and various doctor types, no local police, drugs, etc. By golly (re Adam Smith) we need industry. But not messy factories, we don’t want that. We want good, clean, high profit industry. Voila…. tourism!

Our big time industry is of course the hotels. To create wealth – i.e. big payrolls, big city revenue, many supportive industries – we need happy tourist enjoying the whole area. Many nice tourists have fun, happily spend money, and plan their next visit. The very best understand the paradise on Marco and, you know what, they became us. And that is the big difference to Marco Island, thanks to the lightening bolts that built our industry. We should really honor and appreciate John Willard and many more.

I suppose my thoughts on Mike Minozzi and John Willard are because they were leaders, great examples of why our Marco Island now is so wonderful. Let’s keep these two in mind as we forge on to the future.

Both Willard and Minozzi have passed on. Mike left behind so many accomplishments and some tagalongs like me, finally appreciative on civic affairs. Willard left his son, Junior, in charge. Along the line a really effective captain of industry was sent to the Marco Marriott. You may have met Rick Medwedeff. Rick’s plan, along with Junior, is to provide Marco Island a really wonderful, outstanding top notch in our industry. I understand they call it the JW Marriott.

Oops, I see I didn’t jot down JW’s full name. You probably know. John Willard Marriott.

Many on Marco Island wonder if the spoilers amount to any at the City Council on June 2. Or will the council wisely and calmly come down on basic good sense.

In memory of Mike and JW, let’s just get it done. Amen.

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Letter to the Editor: Bill Thomas Tue, 13 May 2014 12:37:05 +0000 THE CORE QUESTION IS THE IMPORTANT ONE

The Marriott proposal is so complex it has been difficult to identify the “core” of the issue for those of us who live on Marco Island. Even though Marriott has done a fine job of presenting their plans it’s been tough for residents to look beyond those formal presentations to identify any core issues that may adversely affect the happy Marco lifestyle.

The principal “core” issue, important to all residents, is the condition of Marco Island traffic, long term.

Most residents understand the construction traffic caused by the extended buildout period of such a project would be a relatively short term annoyance. However, the question in the minds of residents is what adverse traffic effects would the Marriott proposal bring to our Island, long term.

Marco’s infrastructure is a classic “what you see is what you get” and, some of it is aged and currently in need of repair. Unfortunately, making more streets isn’t possible and Collier Blvd. can accommodate only so many cars/trucks. During “season” that limitation becomes even more evident and painful.

The Marriott proposal doesn’t identify or mention concern for traffic-generating features of their plan, near term nor long term. They have done well in their attempt to beautify the garage and surrounding area, however,  there has been little mention or focus on any resulting traffic problem(s) that may be caused on Marco Island.

The addition of 84 new guest rooms. This part of the proposal is most important to the Marriott, because of its revenue production. By Marriott’s calculation the new rooms could account for 200 more guests each day, which translates to more cars, more traffic and congestion on Collier. Mysteriously, it was recently stated by a Marriott spokesman that “most guests do not drive”. That is an astounding statement and is very difficult to accept.

The expansion of their “meeting room” space by about 29,000 square feet. Marriott claims this is to “be competitive” in the marketplace. This enormous expansion will provide floorspace adequate to house significant conventions, not huge ones like those booked into Tampa or Orlando, but certainly larger than anything in this part of Florida. Large shows, exhibits and trade shows (and concerts) attract large crowds, many cars, and revenue. It’s a known fact that provisioning such shows literally requires caravans of trucks, in and out of the show place to set up and dismantle them, before and after the show. The car/truck traffic volume generated by such an ongoing convention activity could overwhelm our streets with cars and trucks, whenever scheduled. Of note, the proposed increase in their exhibit facility would position the Marriott to take the lead in all future convention activity in southern Florida, a frightening thought, traffic-wise; it’s a true “core” issue. From a practical “business” viewpoint it would be imperative for Marriott to generate as much “convention business” as possible to justify the enormous investment cost to enlarge plus the sizable expense to maintain such an immense “meeting space”. It’s all directly related to our “core” problem of traffic, traffic and more traffic.

Another important piece of the big picture for our City Council to consider is the proposed development of our neighboring communities, added to the 1,900 undeveloped lots on Marco. It’s said that Fiddlers Creek alone has 2,000 more homes to be built and there are probably hundreds of others on the drawing board right now. Surely most of these, and other new neighbors, will adopt Marco as their “back yard or favorite beach”. The additional Marco traffic that will be  generated by all of these other sources over time is a serious factor that must be considered.

To allow an undeterminable increase in Marco traffic caused by Marriott’s renovation request is not in the best long term interest of Island residents. Marco Island is simply not configured to accommodate such an increase in the potential volume of both car and truck traffic.

This “core” issue of traffic congestion is real and will cause a long term disruption throughout Marco Island. The issue was not addressed directly in “Planning” nor has it been elevated to broad open discussion in other forums, a regrettable oversight.

Our City Council should say NO to Marriott’s request.


- Bill Thomas – Marco Island


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Letter to the Editor: Virginia Bingle Tue, 13 May 2014 12:34:10 +0000 KEEP THOSE CALLS AND LETTERS COMING…

There is so much opposition to the Marriott expansion that the Marriott has “once again, asked” (the Chamber of Commerce) “for the assistance of the business community in supporting the project. ” (as printed in a recent local newspaper).

Herein lies the error of their ways.   They may regret going against the “will of the people”.

Those same “people” “are the hands that feed them”…..   These “people” can (will?)  choose not to do business with them…..Thereby voiding any  growth  these businesses  hope to achieve.

It is further understood that a plan is afoot, advising Mr. Medwedeff specific advise on how he can win over each Councilman. (we all have an ” achilles heel”).

Marco is known as “the jewel of the Gulf”

TRIP ADVISOR is saying “come here for the peace, quite, tranquility and unspoiled beauty”

The Marriott describes Marco as ” a peek into paradise”

The MI Chamber of Commerce:  ( one of their mantras)   “in order to protect the quality of life.”

Let’s keep it that way…..

Let your Councilmen know… Say NO to the Marriott expansion… They ARE listening……

send your e-mails to…….. (City Manager)

AND, let the local businesses know too!


- Virginia Bingle, Marco Island


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Letter to the Editor: Marriot Ordinance denial Tue, 13 May 2014 12:32:42 +0000 One Marco Islander’s Opinion:


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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Letter to the Editor: Marco Island Chamber of Commerce Sat, 03 May 2014 02:01:36 +0000 Dear Chamber Members,

Our Planning Board approved and, by a 6-1 vote, sent the proposed Marriott expansion to the City Council for action.  The proposal has changed in two major respects:  the height of the new tower would be 111 feet, rather than 125 feet; and the number of parking spaces has been set at over 1200, with discretion given to the city manager to increase the number if necessary.

There are other stringent limitations on the Marriott, including setbacks, vegetation, drainage, hours of construction and severe penalties for violations.

Once again, Marriott General Manager, Rick Medwedeff, has asked for assistance from the business community in supporting the project.  We have responded previously, and are again passing along Rick’s request for help.  The project has been reviewed by the Board of Directors who believe it is an excellent addition to the community.

The Marco Island Chamber of Commerce’s mission is: “To promote a healthy business and tourism climate in order to protect the quality of life in the community.”  To that end, the Chamberacts, not only to further business interests, but many other community activities including educational and school programs, student scholarships, charitable causes and support of actions that serve the best interests of the community and its taxpayers.

To those ends the Chamber supports projects that:

  •  Improve the business climate
  •  Favorably impact the tax base
  •  Attract visitors to Marco’s unique ambiance, while serving the island’s residents
  •  Encourage more business activity in should and off-peak seasons
  •  Elevate business status in and outside the community
  •  Protect enterprises from unwarranted and unnecessary encumbrances
  •  Create jobs

Letters to the editors and or e-mails to City Council would be greatly appreciated.

Coastal Breeze News – Val Simon:

Marco Eagle - Bill Green:

Marco Sun Times -  Joe Taylor:

City Council:


Thank you for your understanding and help.


Sandi Riedemann, Executive Director,
Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce

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Letter to the Editor: Marco Island Civic Association Sat, 03 May 2014 01:57:30 +0000 Dear Councilman:

The Marco Island Civic Association (MICA) was established over 40 years ago and is one of the oldest and largest associations. Our charter provides that the general purpose is to promote and advance the principles of civic improvement and betterment on Marco Island. Subsequently, the Deltona Corporation delegated enforcement of its Deed Restrictions to MICA to maintain the Mackle Brothers’ vision for development of Marco Island.

That vision was to develop a community of residential properties supported by businesses to meet the needs of the community. Tourism would play a role in the development of the island supported by resort hotels and businesses. The Deltona vision was adopted as part of the city Comprehensive Plan.

After a number of public presentations by the Marriott it became clear there were opposing views regarding the need for such a major project. Some groups stressed approval on behalf of their membership in organizations that have vested interest in the outcome. They claim the benefits derived from this expanded resort will outweigh any projected costs needed for the maintenance of infrastructure during the construction phase. The benefits are not quantified nor offset by costs of excessive maintenance of the infrastructure generated by the project. Additionally, there is no direct benefit to the community identified or proposed in the proposed amendment to be voted on May 5.

The many property owners, who do not support the Marriott project, are concerned with the negative image of convention locations with its attendant congestion, traffic, and infrastructure and construction disruption. 2000 respondents to the 2013 MICA survey opposed amending the 2001 PUD agreement.

May 1, 2014They are fearful that this project will change the character of the island, and it will no longer be the residential community they envisioned.

We understand the Marriott conference areas need to be updated, however, this should be accomplished under the long standing provisions of the 2001 PUD. Another major concern of ours relates to the planned additional square footage for the new meeting space and gaming space. Marriott has publicly stated they will only entertain usage of these spaces for groups that rent rooms in the hotel. This is not a guarantee by Marriott, however, it should be. Once the amendment is granted, the Marriott will be free to use this space as desired unless specific language is incorporated to prevent this.

If the Marriott was truthful in stating its intentions regarding conventions, they should commit to that and agree to its inclusion in the amendment to the agreement.

If this cannot be affected, MICA urges city council to deny the application for amendment thereby guaranteeing there will be no convention business on Marco Island.


Ruth McCann
Executive Director For the MICA Board of Directors

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Letter to the Editor: Support for the Marriott Sat, 03 May 2014 01:54:08 +0000 Support for the Marriott

“How can we help”

Dear Editor,

The owners of the Marco Island Marriott would like to spend $150,000,000.00 in our community to improve their property—our response should be “How can we help”.

The Marriott is already the largest employer on Marco Island, their expansion will help create even more local jobs—”How can we help”

A Marriott expansion will increase revenues in the form of increased impact fees, increased property tax revenue, and increased bed tax (for improved beaches & museums)—”How can we help”

The Marriott (formerly the Marco Beach Resort) has always been the anchor of the development of Marco, and an anchor of our business community—”How can we help”

Marco Island is, and always will be, a very desirable resort destination, nothing will change that. With the proposed improvements to the Marriott they will emerge as a JW Marriott, helping make Marco one of the most exclusive & elegant resort destinations IN THE WORLD, and improving all property values—”How can we help”

The Marriott is a good neighbor, always supporting community events and organizations. They have demonstrated their desire to help us—”How can we help”

I encourage the Marco Island City Council to follow the lead of their hand- selected Planning Board and give the Marriott the approval for their proposed improvements. I would further encourage Council to re-visit the proposed parking platform on the east side of Collier.

Help the Marriott—Don’t handcuff the Marriott
Help make Marco Island the Jewel of the Gulf

Respectfully submitted,

Bruce Gear
Full-time resident Marco Island, FL

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Letter to the Editor: Jim Ciolino Sat, 03 May 2014 01:46:48 +0000 Referring to the article, “Parking problem,” dated 3/11/14 Marco Eagle page 6A, there are two reasons that Marco Island has a parking problem. One is over population; Deltona Development Corporation designed this island for only twenty thousand people, not fifty thousand that we have during the seasonal months. Marco does not have a parking problem during the other nine months of the year. The planning board should have recognized this problem thirty years ago. The high rises on the beach where not part of Deltona’s plan for Marco Island. The other reason is that MICA with the help of Collier County officials blocked the five beach parking lots that Deltona wanted to install along Collier Boulevard and Seaview Court back in 1976, that is part of county ordinance 76-20 that is still active. The county and City of Marco can install them, any time they want so why don’t they? Good question.

Jim Ciolino
26 year resident

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