On Monday, the Marco Island City Council met for its only session during August, working through an agenda that included items ranging from a report from the chair of the city’s Beautification Advisory Committee (BAC) to dealing with the City Manager’s evaluation for the past year.
Beautification Committee Updates Council
Shelli Connelly, Chair of the BAC, updated council on the projects they had worked on during the last year, and those they would be looking at during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. During the last year, they completed work on the annual Marco in Bloom Contest, the 11th year of recognition as a “Tree City USA” Community and a recommendation of species of trees to be planted in city areas. They also designed and printed 80 new “Celebrate Life” banners for along Collier Boulevard, as well as banners indicating the public beach access points along Collier. The group has been busy on these projects, plus looking at a number of new ones for the next fiscal year.
Zoning Petition Approved
Council took under consideration the rezoning of three properties along San Marco Road, which some years ago unfortunately were rezoned C1 from their original RSF-4 designation in violation of their deed restrictions. That had resulted in a court challenge by the Marco Island Civic Association (MICA), which serves as the guardian of those deed covenants.
Initially, the city’s position regarding the deed restrictions was upheld but, upon a challenge of the lower court ruling in the District Court of Appeals, the initial ruling was overruled. However, the city never returned those three lots on San Marco to their original zoning designations. Recently, the owner of the properties petitioned the city to return them to their rightful designation as Residential Single Family so they could be built upon. Council unanimously approved that action.
Noise Ordinance has Second Reading
Council once again heard from Police Chief Tracy Frazzano in their efforts to come to some conclusion regarding noise pollution and how to manage enforcement. Unfortunately, after much discussion, they once again felt they were still a considerable way from coming together on providing staff with a clearly defined process to recognize when it becomes a problem.
Prior to 2017, it was only determined via a specific decibel level reading, but after that, it became subjective.
Councilor Becky Irwin voiced her concerns over the term “plainly audible.” Others too shared some of her concerns.
Councilor Erik Brechnitz linked the issue to rising concerns regarding “short term rentals,” and inferred that MICA, not the city, has the responsibility to enforce the “deed restrictions” which originally were placed upon properties by Deltona. “MICA has elected to not enforce these deed restrictions,” he said, referring to the covenants restricting usages allowed within a single-family residential area, such as creating a commercial utilization of a home.
Brechnitz also continued to push for a better process to ensure the city collects its fines which come about due to violations of the noise ordinance.
Councilor Claire Babrowski commented that the ordinance still was not right, and she was not comfortable proceeding with it. She was joined by Councilor Greg Folley and others in support of referring the issue back to staff to concentrate on the issue of requiring registration of those properties, an improved process to collect fines and a better definition of noise and times for enforcement. That passed by a 7-0 vote.
Revenue Bonds Approved
Council moved on to approving Fire Station 50 and Veterans’ Community Park Public Improvement Revenue Bonds after a brief discussion.
Councilors admitted that they struggled with the forms they utilized to complete their evaluations for the City Manager. It became apparent that this was a process that most councilors found difficult. However, that did not prevent them from providing the City Manager with a positive review of his performance over the last year.