Friday, September 21, 2018

Planning Board Tackles Contrasting Issues


Public Works Director Tim Pinter being grilled by Planning Board members regarding a revised but once again rejected Storm Water Management Ordinance. Photos by Steve Stefanides

Public Works Director Tim Pinter being grilled by Planning Board members regarding a revised but once again rejected Storm Water Management Ordinance. Photos by Steve Stefanides

The Planning Board continued their work on amending the Land Development Code (LDC) as it relates to issues concerning Residential Single Family Home Districts. The majority of these items were relative to bringing the city’s codes into compliance with the Deed Restriction, which paralleled those dimensional requirements as outlined in the city’s codes of ordinances.

Considerable discussions were had regarding what they had previously agreed to and the relationship of previously permitted items versus new construction.

One of the storm water inlets along Collier Boulevard which is clogged with debris and often spoken about regarding the pollution of Landmark Waterway.

One of the storm water inlets along Collier Boulevard which is clogged with debris and often spoken about regarding the pollution of Landmark Waterway.

They would also discuss in depth the total percentage of front facing facades that related to garage doors which would be allowed. The issue of “what ifs” would be hotly debated between members David Vergo and Joe Rola, with Vergo stating, “I’m tired of dealing with the what ifs, that’s not what we are here for and want to deal with the code,” said Vergo.

The issue would be most relevant to 80-foot frontage lots and the prevailing vote favored only the door widths, not the entire garage façade area that would include the structure around the exterior doors. They would further move to mandate that a garage would be either set back or set forward of the front plane of the remaining structure of the home a minimum of two feet.

During public comments Jason Bailey voiced his concerns over the continued revisiting of the items before them. Chairman Brechnitz would agree that they have rehashed the issues a number of times, and would subsequently call for a vote, which was a 6-0 vote in favor the amendments to the LDC. Board member Dick Adams was absent.

The board voted in favor of amending some procedural issues relative to the mechanics of how items come before them and are adopted.

A further amendment was brought forward and passed regarding the addition of schematics being required with applications for boat docking facilities. Stormwater Control Ordinance

The board would once again attempt to pass a staff generated ordinance which would become part of the overall plan to deal with storm water. Public Works Director Tim Pinter explained that this ordinance was the same as the last one that was rejected by the board, but added a new definition for swales.

Vice Chair Ed Issler would attack the proposed legislation when he referred to the efforts to create the ordinance and the report done by the city’s consultant as “useless.” He would go on to state that, “I see that this goes beyond the requirements of the MS4 and adds additional costs for a new single family home,” said Issler.

“We don’t need to create more bureaucracy to help protect our waters, it’s our greatest asset,” said Issler. “I’m not going to be bullied to just send something along to city council. We need to send something to city council that is good for the citizens and for the waters of Marco Island, that our goal” continued Issler.

Pinter would go onto explain the ordinance would prevent illicit discharges from single family homes and require retention of those potential discharges. Issler would counter Pinter’s points by saying, “The biggest threat to our waters is the outfalls of the storm drains running down Collier Boulevard. Grease, rubber, fertilizers, clippings and who knows what else goes directly into the storm drain.”

Chairman Brechnitz would rule that the issue of Collier Boulevard was not relevant to the discussion on the ordinance. Board member Goldstein believed that the new ordinance was more acceptable to him, but looked forward to more specificity in the document.

The new ordinance would require a “professional engineer” certify any plans meet the requirements of the new Comprehensive Storm Water Plan. Board member Joe Rola would question the need for this requirement. Board member Vergo would have similar concerns.

Chairman Brechnitz would remind fellow members that council had not charged this committee with creating a master plan, but instead assigned that task to the Waterway Committee, as he attempted to keep the committee on point.

When Brechnitz called for a vote to approve the ordinance it would fail by a vote of 4-2, with Goldstein, Issler, Rola and Vergo in opposition, leaving only Mulligan and Brechnitz in favor. Relaxation of Parking Fails

Robert Mulhere, V.P. of Planning Services and Business Development for Hole Montes Planners failed to convince the Planning Board that relaxing parking requirements in the city’s Land Development Code would be in the best interest of the city.

The shopping center has been a point a contention over the last two years as attempts to seek approvals for Site Development Plans for changes have run afoul of both the Planning Board and City Council.

Board member Issler pointed out that two of the existing restaurants account for 10% of the total square footage of the complex, but require 20% of the available parking. “This ordinance will decrease the requirements for available parking,” said Issler.

“This ordinance would benefit one center we already know has a problem,” said Frank Mulligan.

Board member Goldstein would respond that he didn’t see a problem and Chairman Brechnitz commented that if he couldn’t find a space to park in he would simply go somewhere else.

Mulhere would attempt to explain why a mixed-use center works as an advantage regarding parking and is actually a plus. However, in the end, the board would split on the issue with Brechnitz, Goldstein and Vergo voting in favor and Issler, Mulligan and Rola opposed. The motion to approve therefore failed regarding the amendment.

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