Battle for the Bay: Marco pushes back against the FDEP
The Marco Island City Council unanimously filed an appeal of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) recent decision to eliminate all future water quality testing and monitoring at Esplanade Marina at its meeting Monday.
In 1998 the Esplanade entered into a development agreement with the city for the purpose of constructing a waterfront mixed-use development. As part of the agreement, the Esplanade pledged to “provide onsite water management in accordance with the standards of South Florida Water Management District (and) adequately address issues related to public health, safety and welfare.”
Similarly, in 2002 when the Esplanade received a permit from the FDEP to build and operate a marina located in Smokehouse Bay, it entered into a binding agreement to protect the water quality of the bay.
The binding agreement contained a paragraph requiring the marina to "implement a long-term water quality testing and monitoring program." It also warned the marina that "(it) would have to consider eliminating a number of boat slips" should the water quality tests show violations of the state’s water quality standards.
Recently, the marina asked the FDEP to remove that paragraph from the agreement, freeing it from its obligation to test and monitor the bay's water quality.