At its September 3 meeting, the Marco Island Planning Board denied a petition from the owners of 986 Sundrop Court for a 12-foot extension beyond the 30-foot norm, which would make the request a total of forty-two feet from the property line out into the river. The Marco River is approximately 2800 feet wide behind the property. The additional two feet from the original ten-foot proposal was due to the planned installation of a new vinyl seawall as part of this project.
John and Karen Packer have owned the property at 986 Sundrop for 21 years having constructed the existing home at that location. They now wish to dock their new boat there. The boat is 130 feet in length, with a 28-foot beam and a seven-foot draft. Owners on either side of the Packers’ home, which is located along the Marco River on a “tip-lot,” have opposed the twelve foot “variance” being requested by the Packer family.
Staff had recommended approval of the request by the Planning Board. The petitioner met all of the requirements as required in the Land Development Code, and that adherence was noted in the staff’s recommendation. The ten-foot width of the walk area on the dock is to ensure safe passage for equipment and personnel while preparing the boat for trips and equipment, if necessary, for minor maintenance purposes.
Letters of objection were forwarded to the city’s Planning Board from owners on both sides of 986 Sundrop. Owners of the property located at 983 Sundrop and owners of 980 Sundrop are objecting to the variance being requested, both due to potential obstruction of views the property owners enjoy of the Marco River and/or the Judge Jolley Bridge. The owners of 1289 and 1295 Orange Court with their attorney also voiced concerns as to the impact on their properties’ views.
The McBrides, part owners of the property at 980 Sundrop, requested they be allowed to testify electronically. They initially were denied that request, but the issue was resolved, as they and others were allowed the opportunity to call in to the meeting.
Property owners who have objected to the loss of their “views” in similar requests have failed to prevail over the last several years. Owners at the Anglers Cove Condo Complex failed in their arguments when they objected to the construction of the boat storage facility at the Rose Marco River Marina.
Another more recent issue came about when the Marco Island Yacht Club came before the Planning Board and the City Council seeking final approval for the new docks presently being constructed. Owners on Martinique Court protested blockage of their views due to that project. Ultimately, both projects were approved over the objections of nearby property owners.
Planning Board member David Vergo as well as Vice Chair Larry Honig spoke to Marco Island’s “small town charm,” and questioned whether this variance might impact that, in addition to the effect on the views of abutting and nearby property owners.
In addition, at least one speaker came forward regarding kayaks and safety within waterways with speeding vessels. A subsequent search of the state statutes finds that speeds of vessels in all canals, waterways, bays and within 500 feet of seawalls is limited to idle speed and no wake. The definition of “no wake” is the minimum speed required to maintain steerage.
Board member Nanette Rivera moved to approve the twelve-foot extension. She explained that she was dealing with a twelve-foot extension on a dock, and that it had nothing to do with the size of a boat that would be kept there. That motion was seconded by Geoff Fahringer. Rivera and Fahringer were joined by member Mike Hogan supporting approval of the twelve-foot variance for the dock. Opposing were Chairman Jason Bailey, Honig, Vergo, and Nanette Finkle.
The petitioner may now go to the City Council to appeal that vote, and is expected to do so.