The Marco Island Planning Board stands out as the only advisory board within the city’s structure of governance that is required by State statute for both municipalities and counties. This serves to point out its importance with regard to managing growth and the quality of life within the state’s rapidly growing population.
Over the next five years, Florida is estimated to gain 303,264 new residents each year – approximately 831 new residents each day. Many of them are coming from high tax states such as New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
New homes and resales of existing homes have been on the rise over the last year here on Marco Island. Teardowns and larger homes are springing up in their place, causing some to worry about maintaining the character of the community that attracted them to purchase here on the island. All of this is in addition to the controversy being caused by daily rentals of homes in single family neighborhoods, increasing the pressure to maintain the quality of life some had come to expect when they moved here during the last couple of decades.
Hence the focus falls on both elected officials such as the City Council and appointed officials such as Planning Board members, who residents expect to act as the first line of defense regarding issues such as density, overbuilding and the protection of the character of the island.
Members of the Planning Board currently include the following:
Now in his third year on the board, Bailey was recently in the odd situation of having his appointment lapsing due to the resignation last year of former Councilman Sam Young who originally had appointed him. However, when Claire Babrowski left the Planning Board to take an appointment on Council to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman Victor Rios, she chose to appoint Bailey, who ironically was elected to ascend to the position of Chairman, the same seat Babrowski held prior to leaving the board.
Bailey, a local contractor, is a longtime resident of the island and business owner since moving here from the Detroit area. He had previously served as Vice Chair of the Planning Board.
Fahringer has owned here on Marco Island since 1995, and served for 25 years with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in various law enforcement capacities. Although retired from fulltime employment with Collier County, he remains a reserve deputy. He also has his own company which certifies public safety personnel as rescue swimmers. Fahringer also is a licensed real estate agent, and has been involved in contracting services in the past, overseeing construction of his own home. He is a member of the Marco Island Yacht Club. He was appointed to the Planning Board by City Councilor Rebecca Irwin in 2021, when she was a newly elected member of City Council.
William “Mike” Hogan
Hogan is a retired money management executive who holds a BS in Management, BA in Finance and Management, as well as an MBA from Monmouth University in 1997. He has put his 30 years of professional finance experience to work during his service on the City’s Audit Advisory Committee, and volunteered for a number of community organizations since moving here three to four years ago. He was appointed in 2021 to the Planning Board by City Councilor Greg Folley, a newly elected member of Council.
Honig previously served for eight years on the Marco Island City Council from 2012 to 2020 before term limits prevented his running for additional time on council. He has lived on Marco Island since about 2006, and has worked in retail management and as a consultant in that field. He holds an MBA from the Harvard School of Business and several undergraduate degrees. He was appointed to the Planning Board in 2021 by City Councilor Richard Blonna, another newly elected member of Council.
Rivera has lived on the island for over 15 years. She spent 20 years in senior executive positions in global supply chain and R&D operations, as well as 15 years as a principal managing partner in pharmaceutical operations of a management consulting firm. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Rivera serves as Treasurer for the Executive Committee of the Collier County Republican Club, and is a member of the Big Cyprus Basin Board of the South Florida Water Management District. She and her husband belong to the Marco Island Coast Guard Auxiliary and the local U.S. Power Squadron. She was appointed to the Board by City Councilor Joseph Rola, another newly elected member of Council.
Prior to making Marco Island his fulltime residence, Swartz was a successful, well known and respected builder in Decatur, IL. He served on various community committees there and was involved in civic organizations. He also served on some national association committees within the building industry. Swartz was called on by then Council Chairman Erik Brechnitz to fill the void created when Planning Board member Mike Finkle suddenly passed away. Brechnitz originally had appointed Finkle and called on Swartz to fill out Finkle’s unexpired term.
Vergo grew up on the island and attended local schools. He is a longtime HVAC business owner on the island and is active in multiple community organizations. He has served for the last four years on the Planning Board and recently was reappointed to the board by Councilor Jared Grifoni.
AS THEY MOVE FORWARD
Challenges facing the board are numerous in the months ahead, including rework of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and other important planning documents that will serve to lay the groundwork for what the island will look like in the next decade.
The Planning Board regularly meets on the first Friday of the month within council chambers at 51 Bald Eagle Drive. The meetings are open to the public, and may also be viewed on Channel 93 or 98 on Comcast, Channels 97, 98 or 98.1 on Summit Broadband, or Channel 93 on Century Link. In addition, they and all other city council and advisory committee meetings are live-streamed on the internet by visiting the city’s website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com.