MARATHON -- This Middle Keys town may soon be home to two different Marriott resort properties.
Earlier this year, Marathon Hospitality LLC was granted approval to build a Marriott Courtyard near mile marker 48, just south of the Turtle Hospital, bayside.
The 95-unit hotel will comprise 6,000 square feet, including retail and restaurant space, and the property will include a swimming pool and marina with 34 slips.
During last week's City Council meeting, the members unanimously supported the development of a Marriott Residence Inn at mile marker 49.5, formerly Crystal Cove Resort. The property will offer 113 units, including 100 hotel rooms and 13 cottages.
Marathon Planning Director George Garrett advised the council that, historically, a portion of the 7.3-acre property had been improperly zoned. Although it had been used as a resort for many years, the zoning had been established as residential. Consequently, the council voted unanimously to change the property's zoning to mixed use, which, according to Garrett, properly reflects its past and future implementation.
"We're very comfortable with the layout," Garrett said of the proposal. "It meets all of the requirements."
Property owner Marvin Rappaport attended the meeting and expressed his commitment to meeting the city's conditions for development. Currently he has 30 units on the site and would only be eligible for seven of the town's pool of 100 hotel room allocations.
"We aren't offering or guaranteeing" any of the allocations, Mayor Mike Cinque said. "Do you have a plan?"
Rappaport assured the council he would be able to secure the necessary room allocations.
A neighbor to the property raised concerns about a loss of privacy.
"For half a century, the properties [in the neighborhood] have been zoned residential," the neighbor said. "I knew this day would come, but I'm concerned."
The 13 cottages, which would be 33 feet tall, are within 50 feet of his one story home.
Cinque asked Garrett about buffering and landscaping.
"I was impressed by how much buffering already existed," Garrett replied.
"Well, let's make sure it's part of the agreement plan," Cinque said. He also called for demolition and cleanup within 180 days.
Rappaport reassured the council he would meet the requirements for buffering and it was his intention to begin working the site the following day.
"Then make it 90 days," replied Cinque.
The council voted unanimously to add demolition and cleanup within 90 days, an appropriate buffer along the property's boundaries and the completion of an updated FDOT traffic study as conditions to the development agreement. If the conditions aren't met, the agreement would be void.
"We don't want a mess," Cinque said.
The council also discussed a development agreement between the city and Bonefish Properties LLC.
Owner Mark Fleer is seeking permission to redevelop the Bonefish Bay Hotel property at mile marker 53.5. He plans to demolish two of the hotel buildings and add 13 RV sites.
"The applicant has done everything they can and need to to meet our requirements," said Garrett, who recommended the council approve the request and establish a 36-month schedule for redevelopment.
Fleer will need to acquire five additional hotel room allocations to complete his development plan.
"There's no guarantee of [the city] giving units," cautioned Cinque, "but it fits our criteria."
The mayor referred to the motel as a "mom-and-pop" operation and expressed his general support for that type of business.
Fleer will be required to consult with FDOT regarding traffic flow and safe approach to the resort. Garrett noted there were access issues for westbound traffic.
"The issue is significant enough," Garrett said. "It should be a condition of the agreement."
He speculated that a turn lane may be necessary.
In addition, Fleer was asked and agreed to additional buffering between his property and U.S. 1.