The issue of docks, extensions, shallow drafts, riparian rights and the desires for larger boats were front and center of the discussions held at the August 7th Marco Island Planning Board Meeting.
The first issue to come before the board dealt with an owner’s desire to extend his dock a little further into Barfield Bay to allow for his boat to have enough water to be launched. Due to the shifting sands, the need to refurbish his walkway and dock itself, the owner was requesting an extension of that dock while the reconfiguration was taking place on the property located at 899 Caxambas Drive.
Board member David Vergo remarked that he was familiar with the issues in that area, commenting that the area is very susceptible to shoaling and shifting depths.
The board voted 7-0 to accept the staff’s recommendation to approve the request of the owner.
The second request for an extension of a boat dock came from the owners of 1272 Orange Court. In the past, a number of owners have come forward to request a reconfiguration of their dock areas due to the shallow nature of the water depths along their seawalls. The Orange Court area sits on the eastern border of the Factory Bay area.
To provide sufficient water at mean-low water depths, an extension of 16ft. would be required. Due to the sufficient width of the waterway in that area, the staff was inclined to recommend the request by the homeowner. Previous similar requests have been granted due to the same issues over the years.
The only board member to object was Ed Issler, who questioned whether or not a speculator was attempting to add an improvement for additional value to an investment. The builder came forward during the testimony phase to stipulate that the home was indeed sold, and the owner was requesting this variance.
The board voted 6-1 to approve, with only Issler in opposition.
APM Homes came forward looking to vacate a utility easement between two building lots which were being combined to provide for the merging of those two lots for the building of a new home on the combined site. The board approved the request and the staff recommendation by a vote of 7-0.
The last issue on the board’s agenda dealt with the request for approval for a zero-set-back approval for a boat dock that would span between the lots at 1152 and 1148 Edington Place in Old Marco. A new home has already been built upon the lot at 1152 and the demolition of an old home at 1148 Edington and the replacement of that seawall is in progress. Both property owners are related by marriage and have signed off on a waiver of the setback requirements.
However, several members of the board were concerned regarding the impact of the dockage of a 42ft. vessel at 1148 Edington. That vessel will in fact come close to the 12ft. setback which abuts 1144 Edington. The owner did not appear at the hearing but did sign off on the Riphaean Rights Issue.
Board member Goldstein suggested that the 42ft. vessel was too large on an 80ft. lot, and there would be subsequent impacts in the future.
In recent years, a number of disputes have arisen over the impact of approving dock designs and variances on abutting neighbors, while giving them no notice of the proposed changes. One of the requirements within the city code requires an evaluation of the impact on abutting neighbors.
The city staff had recommended against the issuance of the variance and the approval of the request. However, Chair Claire Babrowski, Vice Chair Jason Bailey, board members Tom Swartz and David Vergo all voted to deny the staff’s recommendation for denial. Only board members Issler, Rola and Goldstein voted to approve the staff’s recommendation for denial.