City Council approves the revised 2040 comprehensive plan for the city | New
Marco Island City Council met abruptly at 5:30 p.m. in the council chamber for its first meeting in October to surround itself with a relatively light agenda, but one that attracted a number of attendees.
While this is not Dr Casey Lucius’ first appearance before council, it would be his first as the new Deputy City Manager. Dr Lucius was called in from the dugout to replace City Manager Michael McNees who was out of town.
After the board began the meeting by dealing with normal housekeeping matters such as approving the minutes of the special meeting called and the regular meeting on September 20, the board quickly decided to send the consent agenda. The consent program included the approval of city employee insurance plans, authorization to lease / purchase a 2021 street sweeper for $ 363,232, authorization from the city manager to perform a contract for the elimination of biosolids at the wastewater treatment plant for an additional $ 359,409, and approval of the annual contract for the 2021 Budget year -2022 for the sewer manhole rehabilitation project in the amount of $ 119,810.
One of the main points to be dealt with during this meeting came with the second reading of the dossier for the adoption of the comprehensive 2040 plan. The process involving the adoption of the new 20-year plan for any municipal or county entity in the He State of Florida must be updated every ten years by Florida State law.
“Such a plan provides the principles, guidelines, standards and strategies for the orderly and balanced future economic, social, physical, environmental and fiscal development of a community or county that reflects the commitments of that entity to implement the plan and its elements. ” The components of this plan cover all aspects relevant to the current and future needs of the area in question.
Since April 2020, the city has been grappling with the complexity of such an endeavor. These struggles were complicated by a number of issues. First involved the difficulties surrounding the unfortunate challenges presented by isolation within communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many complained that these issues made it difficult for citizens to safely come together to discuss in detail the various components of such a “blueprint” for the community.
Another area of concern was the timing of the review process, which unfortunately saw many island residents absent for the first seven months of plan development by FGCU staff and consultants. Combine that with the isolation of these residents upon their return from that initial seven-month absence due to COVID-19 lockdowns, and you will find citizens questioning whether or not they were part of the process.
City staff and FGCU consultants have gone out of their way to use technologies such as Zoom meetings, online surveys and questionnaires to gather feedback and engage with citizens, but there remains a sense of isolation of the process by many.
At Monday night’s meeting, longtime resident John Slocum, with over 50 years of experience on the island, urged councilors to use the extra five months they have to engage with residents who are now returning with the aim of ironing out the problems which appear to be of concern.
Former councilors Bill Trotter and Howard Reed also urged the board to take the extra time they have to deal with issues of concern to the growing group of citizens who continue to attend meetings.
Councilor Eric Brechnitz has convinced his fellow councilors that they should remove language that he believes could lead future councils to become trapped in providing island-wide tram service, while visitors from off the island use the local parking lots to stage the vehicles and take the cart for transport to local beach access points along Collier Boulevard, overloading the fragile ecosystem of the Beach.
Ultimately, Council voted 6-1 to approve the amended document for transmission to Tallahassee and their final acceptance. Municipal staff may, after monitoring the implementation of the approved plan, propose changes to the plan after public hearings with the city council and planning council, if applicable. The proposed changes could then be sent to the State for approval.