If you drive by the new construction at 1208 Orange Court you might think its just another new home being built on Marco Island. This two-story home with a large garage may seem typical, but if you look a little closer or view it from the water, you will see it is not.
This home will have the first “nautical garage” as part of its footprint. The concept had its origins here on Marco Island going back to 2015, when it was given an initial approval by the planning board and city council. The original concept involved an application for shoulder or pinched lots. This is where access for docking a vessel is hampered by the layout of the lot on the canal, sometimes denying the lot owner access to the waterway.
Both boards would eventually approve the utilization of this concept for dockage as a “conditional use,” as long as it met a number of strict requirements. The original petition that was approved in September 2015 was for a lot on Barbados Court. However, after going through numerous hearings before both the planning board and a public hearing and unanimous approval by the city council, the petitioner chose not to move forward with the project.
In 2017, Duane Thomas Marine Construction met with a client who desired a new seawall be constructed at their property on Orange Court, prior to construction of their new home. The nautical garage concept once again was discussed and was incorporated within their plans for the home that is now being built.
All it required was for the seawall to be constructed with a notch to accommodate the client’s boat and to build the home around it. Much of the new construction on the water requires that aging seawalls be replaced, as many older residences are being demolished and newly designed homes take their place.
In June 2017, the planning board approved changes to the Land Development Code which would allow the incorporation of a nautical garage as a conditional use within waterfront residential areas.
“We’ve spoken to a number of potential clients who have a desire to protect their expensive investments from the elements; they find the concept to be a very workable one,” said Nancy Sciog, Operations Manager for Duane Thomas Marine Construction.
“People are spending from $3 to $6 million to purchase their lots, while constructing some of these fabulous new homes on the water. They want creative ways to incorporate this as part of the overall design for their home. It secures their investment, doesn’t obstruct their views and provides peace of mind for the owners,” said Sciog.
Years ago, construction of new waterfront boat houses were outlawed to protect the views enjoyed by neighbors. There are still some found around the island that were grandfathered but for the most part they have been disappearing, as is the protection for their marine craft.
One of the provisions for approval is that the vessel may not protrude from the entrance of the internal dockage area.
Sciog explained that the design for this specific build would utilize a 120,000-pound hoist system, which will completely lift the customer’s 50-foot vessel out of the water on its cradle system.
Similar nautical garages have been constructed in the Keys and on Florida’s east coast. They are seen by some as a practical way to protect their investment and provide a safe environment for their pleasure craft.