By Steve “Stef” Stefanides
For a number of years now the discussions regarding whether or not Marco could support some type of Assisted Living Facility (ALF) for those in need of that service may be reaching a point where a conversation of greater substance might be about to occur.
An ALF is simply defined as housing for those that due to a disability, or for those adults who cannot or chose not to live independently. The resident of an ALF is typically a senior citizen who doesn’t need the more intensive care found in a nursing home. An ALF facility provides one with the necessary support, while allowing them to still maintain a sense of independence.
Chancey Design Partnership, along with CRW Development Partners and Watermark Communities have been quietly reviewing the potential for just such an undertaking over the last 18 months on Marco. The two companies have been involved in projects in Tampa, Orlando and the Winter Park area in the past, and Marco Island may present a suitable opportunity for their next venture. Approximately 30% of beds are allocated for “memory care.”
Walt Chancey, representing Chancey Design stated that they have historically built projects that are in the range of 80 to 110 units or more. To be financially viable an 80-unit facility would be the smallest practical for them and they feel they have identified some potential property on the island that might meet those requirements that could house an 85-to 90-unit facility.
Upon the invitation of the city staff they came forward on November 4 to gauge the understanding of the ambiguous language found within the city codes and zoning documents before moving ahead any further.
Their presentation was warmly met by the Planning Board, which peppered them with questions, while receiving a few themselves.
One of the major issues discussed had to do with the vague and unclear nature of how an ALF would be defined for purposes of these discussions. The definitions dealing with “intensity vs. density” was a major factor in those discussions.
Susan Murphy of P&M Consulting felt they could adhere to all of the requirements within the present C3 Zoning, to include any parking prerequisites for an 80-95 unit facility.
City Manager Roger Hernstadt suggested that the board schedule a discussion on whether this would be looked at in regards to how that use would be defined in the future. “The planning staff could bring you back the support information in regards to what latitude you might have in regards to the definitions involved here,” said Hernstadt.
The board would move by consensus to schedule their discussions in the immediate future regarding the definition of terms and the possible need to adjust wording within the Land Development Code to more effectively define those terms.