Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Citizens Flood Council Chambers


It was a full house at the recent city council meeting.

It was a full house at the recent city council meeting.

The Marco Island City Council found its chambers packed with a determined crowd when it met on January 22nd to undertake its agenda for its second scheduled meeting for the month of January.

The crowd was there in particular to again voice their displeasure to a proposal to add parking to Bayside Court. Many of those residents resided on Saturn and Seaview Courts, in addition to condominiums on Bayside. The gated community of South Seas alone consists of approximately 1,300 units in that area, therefore wielding considerable influence.

Robert Cholka, chairman of the Ad- Hoc Parking Solutions Committee, had come back before council to provide more answers on materials to be utilized for surfaces that would make up the parking areas. In addition to that, he came forward to adjust the income potential to pay off debt based upon a 365-day projection, rather than the shorter seasonal projections.

Councilor Victor Rios Photos by Steve Stefanides

Councilor Victor Rios Photos by Steve Stefanides

Ad-Hoc Chairman Cholka brought up the subject of residential parking challenges related to Hurricane Irma repairs. He suggested that permits tied to these repairs might have a temporary relief to park in the swales, rather than moving dumpsters into front yards, which could potentially create damage to irrigation systems.

Citizens watched the meeting from outside council chambers when there were no more seats inside.

Citizens watched the meeting from outside council chambers when there were no more seats inside.

Councilor Charlette Roman suggested that the city manager come back with a response after he had spoken with staff in regards to this issue. It was agreed by consensus that they would follow that path.

When the public was able to comment they came forward to adamantly oppose the addition of public parking into a residential area. Many also thanked council for the pedestrian walkway, this after waiting for three years for a possible signalized intersection at Saturn Court, which was eventually rejected by DOT due to its proximity to other signalized intersections.

One of those speaking on the usage of alleyways for parking pointed out that the city’s own Comprehensive Plan does not advocate that usage where it abuts residential neighborhoods. Mary Moore quoted from that document and subsequently listed the reasons why the city’s own blueprint for the island’s development did not allow it and required heavy landscape buffering on the “commercial side” of those alleyways, not the residential side.

Councilor Larry Honig stated that the county planners themselves are predicting the growth of 17,000 new residents north of the Jolley Bridge every two to five years, and spoke to the pressures that would bring to the island’s infrastructure. He brought up the issue of who should be responsible for providing parking and whether it was a responsibility of the city or private enterprise.

Councilor Roman agreed that issues regarding alleyway had gotten away from adequate control in the past, but suggested that the low cost solutions and no cost solutions had merit from the committee and that the committee and council would have to look harder at the other areas.

On a motion by Councilor Victor Rios, seconded by Councilor Roman, the addition of parking on Bayside and Wells Sawyer Way would be eliminated, which passed by a vote of 7-0. City staff would then be tasked to look at the remaining areas and provide council with a recommendation regarding the other areas of concern. Stormwater Ordinance

The contentious issue of creating a stormwater ordinance for the city was once again before council with many of the same troubling issues still included within it as spoken to by several of the councilors and members of other com- munity advisory committees.

In the end, the city manager and city attorney agreed that they had captured many of those items and would be able to come back at the second reading of the ordinance with the appropriate changes if the ordinance as presented that evening could be passed. This could give council the opportunity to meet the guidelines as detailed by the required state timeline.

The ordinance had previously been rejected by the Planning Board twice and was rejected once before by council. Issues such as enforcement and the requirements regarding single family homes were two hot button items for many of the board members, but would hopefully be addressed when brought back within 30 days. Only Councilor Howard Reed would vote in opposition of the motion, making the vote 6-1. Veterans Community Park Concerns

During the citizens comment section of the meeting, Ed Issler came forward to inquire whether there was some type of “hidden agenda” regarding the recent movement to award a contract to a consulting group to provide an updated Master Plan for Veterans Community Park. “We have already paid this same firm to accomplish that after considerable vetting before the community and only one thing has changed and that is the removal of a ‘performing arts center’ that would have been built on that property,” said Issler.

Issler went on to suggest that a possible question be placed on the August ballot regarding the citizen’s desires when it polls the community on the COPCN issue. He also brought up the proposal for the possibility of having 190 new spaces to be added to the perimeter of the present park.

Chairman Jared Grifoni corrected Mr. Issler in his claim that there would indeed be three public hearings on that issue as part of the scope of work to be done by the contractor. Chairman Grifoni also said that no agreement had been entered into as of this time and it still has to come before council for their approval. Hurricane Review Committee

Council adopted a proposal to create an Ad Hoc Hurricane Review Committee comprised of five citizens to review the community response to Hurricane Irma and issue a report back to the council.

Citizens wishing to have their names considered for appointment should apply on the city’s website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com. Councilors Get Training

The League of Florida Cities will provide councilors with a three-hour workshop of how they can become more effective in their roles and become more educated as to what those roles are. That workshop was held on January 30th at council chambers and was part of the services offered by the League due to our membership.

Council’s next meeting will be held on Monday, February 5th starting at 5:30 PM in council chambers and the public is always encouraged to attend or watch on TV or through the city’s link on their computers, by simply going to www.cityofmarcoisland.com.

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