What should have been a simple discussion for approval of two nautical garage projects, which mirrored a project the Marco Island Planning Board approved last year, turned into a philosophical discussion on what some board members saw as their “personal vision” for what should be built on Marco Island.
The petitioner had come forward to obtain a “conditional use permit,” which petitioner has a right to do under the city’s Land Development Code, provided they meet all the provisions.
What occurred instead was a philosophical debate by three of the planning board members of their personal visions for what should be allowed to be built on Marco Island.
The nautical garage provides the homeowner with a cut-in under the structure to provide storage for his/her vessel on a lift. The proposal met all of the city requirements that are presently on the books, and which are a result of extensive discussions and debates relative to the conceptual nature of the garages.
Board member Ed Issler questioned the ownership of the property and the legality of the signatures applying for the permit. The city attorney helped walk Issler through the paperwork that was before the board.
Board member Joe Rola questioned whether the homes were “spec houses.” Staff explained to him that ownership had nothing to do with the permitting process that they consider when looking at approvals and forwarding to the Planning Board for their disposition.
“Flushing” of the water within the canal was another subject that was a part of a continual debate regarding whether the Conditional Use Permit should be granted. Engineering data from the State of Florida DEP listed 90 hours as an accepted time to flush any contaminates that might be introduced into a water body. The developer is required, as part of the application process, to provide site specific data regarding that requirement. Their data showed only 23 hours would be required, 67 hours less than what the state would require.
Board member Dave Vergo pointed out that this is an accepted modeling program, referring to the “flushing” issue. “It’s easy to say put the brakes on everything and waste other peoples’ money,” said Vergo.
Board member Issler then questioned a reduction in the pervious nature of the lot, Board Chairman Ron Goldstein and staff would point out that the proposals before them did not exceed the 67% figure as part of the Land Development Code.
Board member Vergo complimented the builder for maximizing landscaping and the advantages of the pervious nature of the landscaping design.
For a year and a half, the Marco Island Planning Board has been unable to address the issues concerning pervious and impervious nature due to their inability to come to a consensus during that time. That would cause board member Rola to ask, “When are we going to get serious about this?” His comments never received a reaction by other planning board members.
Board member Issler commented that he believed there is a difference in a homeowner wanting to do something versus a developer, which caused Vergo to respond that it shouldn’t make a difference who owns the property, and that Issler was making a mistake by assuming these are spec homes.
Issler stated, “It’s a different issue if a resident comes forward and wishes to build one of these, rather than a developer building spec houses.”
Issler’s comments were then quickly disproved when Todd Schneider, the owner of APM Custom Homes, who built the first nautical garage home on Orange Court, came forward to explain that these are “family homes,” and they choose to place them within an LLC.
Both applications were rejected by a 3-2 vote. Board Chair Ron Goldstein, Board Members Ed Issler and Joe Rola voted to deny the request, while Vice Chair Claire Babrowski and Board Member David Vergo opposed the rejection of the request. Board members Mike Finkle and Jason Bailey were absent.
The matter will now be referred to the Marco Island City Council for their review.