Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Vice chair of the Code Board, Phil Kostelnik, center, and member Ray McChesney discuss the notion of appointing a magistrate in place of the board. / Steve Stefanides/Sun Times

Over the past two weeks, the elusive issue of “quality of life” has dominated discussion at all levels of city government.

From meetings of the city council, code enforcement board and the planning board, discussions have centered on how to maintain and improve what makes the community a healthy one.

In a joint meeting of the city council and code enforcement board, the issue was centered on how best to bring violators into line regarding adherence to the city’s code of ordinances. This covers a wide range of issues, from grass too high on vacant lots, to cars parked illegally around residential neighborhoods and to the age-old problem of single-family home rentals causing a disruption in a neighborhood.

Some of those same discussions have gone on within the planning board as any solutions which involve changes to the land development code are something that will come before them for action. After that, it would be referral to the city council for final adjudication.

Code compliance

Code enforcement comprises two separate areas. The first level of enforcement lies with the relevant officers, who identify problems and attempt to resolve them with the offenders. Should that effort fail, then the offending party is given a “notice of violation” and summoned before the board.

The board will sit as a “quasi-judicial” body, and hear a presentation on the case before them and levy a judgment, which may in fact include a fine. Members may also hear requests for the mediation of a fine; simply put, it is a request to lower a fine that has been previously levied by the board.

Some on city council would like to dissolve the board and replace it with a “special magistrate,” while moving to a citation system, similar to receiving a ticket for violation of the codes.

Much would remain the same under both systems, but any fines would remain here on Marco, as would other offenses such as parking offenses, which formerly have gone over to the Collier County Circuit Court. After the magistrate makes his/her ruling the offender may appeal to the circuit court.

(Page 2 of 2)

The city would still be able to recover hard costs which are accumulated, and they may not be mitigated. A failure to abide by the magistrate’s ruling would trigger the ability of the city to lien the property in question.

The council will now schedule a discussion at the second meeting in September of the proposed appointment of a magistrate along with several other options to move forward.

Alleys and rentals

At a recent planning board meeting, the discussion continued to center around alley parking and how to resolve issues concerning problems noticeable around the island.

Public Works Director Tim Pinter has formulated a letter which will go out to commercial owners who abut what has been described as the Castaways Alley. This alley runs parallel to Collier Boulevard between Amazon and Saturn courts, and would be considered a “pilot project.”

Costs for the improvements would be borne by the commercial property owners, and failure to agree to the costs would result in the alley being posted as “no parking.”

Another issue before the board is possible regulation of rentals of single-family homes.

Over the years there have been numerous complaints from neighbors regarding out-of-control renters in their neighborhoods. A few years ago a committee was established to discuss the issue, but it failed to come to any substantive conclusions or recommendations.

Realtors on the island have cautioned city staff and boards to proceed carefully and not go overboard in their requirements, while citizens have been looking for more enforcement of the existing codes and ordinances. There has even been a call for the need to “register” rental homes in an effort to get owners more involved to ensure compliance.

The problem, which has been a constant topic of conversation, lies in the rental of a home with multiple inhabitants, sometimes from 10 to 20 individuals over a long weekend.

The Planning Board will hold more meetings and hearings over the next few months as they review potential ordinances decreed in other communities throughout Florida and the nation.

More In Marco Island News

Local Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers on Marco Island

GET DEALS NOW

Marco beach cam

RESTAURANTS

Find local restaurants, read
and submit reviews

Celebrating the best of South Lee and North Naples

READ MORE

Reader Photos

Get the Hurricane Hub app

DealChicken.com

Sign up to save 50-90% off SWFL dining, shopping, spas, activities and more. Every day.