As it did just three weeks ago, Sanibel Planning Commission members got into a lengthy discussion about commercial interconnectivity at Tuesday's meeting.
It was sparked by the continued public hearing of a resolution regarding the Periwinkle Place applications for a variance, a conditional use permit and a development permit in order to build an addition to the center for an as yet unnamed 24-seat fast food restaurant.
The project proposes to construct a building addition with 1,310 square feet of floor area. Because of the developed area limitations, applicants proposed to abandon 1,313 square feet of commercial space to actually lessen the developed area and remove 2,376 square feet of impermeable surfaces.
The upstairs store space Periwinkle Place owners proposed to abandon in order to offset creating new floor space with a construction addition project for a 24-seat fast food restaurant in the front where Pandora's was located. The revised project application was approved by Sanibel Planning Commission on Tuesday.
Staff conditions for approval originally included improvements to the landscape barrier, improved interconnectivity with the adjoining Forever Green center, and a solution to removing the floor boards in the abandoned areas to render them unusable, all of which the center owners, Dahlmann Periwinkle Place LP, disagreed with.
Per a motion at the Oct. 22 meeting, staff worked with the owners to resolve their differences. That work resulted in the revised resolution brought before the commission Tuesday with the floor space and landscape barrier issues satisfactorily resolved including a new revised site plan.
Interconnectivity continues to be a problem. Periwinkle Place owners are strongly against additional interconnectivity to Forever Green, maintaining it is not required by current code and the city shared use plan currently serves the purpose of interconnectivity.
"We have addressed the floor area issues satisfactorily," said Steven Hartsell, attorney for Periwinkle Place. "The buffer plan has been submitted and is acceptable to Natural Resources. We still believe connection to Forever Green is not required by the Land Development Code. We don't think it is appropriate at this time to apply interconnectivity on this project without available standards."
The Commission currently is debating interconnectivity and parking as part of its ongoing commercial redevelopment project, but standards are still in the preliminary stages and have not yet been established.
The revised conditions, presented by acting planning director Roy Gibson, reduced the connectivity from a driveway to a bike/pedestrian path, but drainage, vegetation and electrical line aspects present a location problem. Gibson recommended that a better path connecting the parking lot to the existing shared use path be established for safety reasons.
Councilman Chuck Ketteman made a motion to approve the resolution with all 13 conditions, adding the landscape buffer plan to condition 8, improve the Periwinkle Place path connection to the SUP, work with staff on its location, and not require construction of an additional connection to Forever Green at this time, and that owners agree to maintain the landscape buffer and connection to the existing SUP.
The motion passed 5-2 with Commissioners Philip Marks and Tom Krekel dissenting, the same vote as taken three weeks ago.
City Manager Judie Zimomra updated commissioners on the status of Planning Department Director Jim Jordan, who has been out with a medical issue for a month.
"He really appreciates the emails and cards to his hospital room," Zimomra said. "He is out of the ICU unit but a discharge date has not been set. His doctors gave him an estimate of another month before he can return to work."
Gibson also updated the board with the ongoing staff work on the parking and interconnectivity aspect of the redevelopment project, a report that will be brought before them for more discussion at the Dec.10 meeting, slated to start at 8 a.m. because of the number of other items also on the agenda.
Staff is revising the parking design standards, accommodations to the shared use path parking concept as well as bicycle parking standards and setback standards.
The next scheduled commission meeting on Nov. 26 falls two days before Thanksgiving and has been canceled.