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Island businesses: In good times and bad, they work with our community

By Staff | Feb 26, 2009

Let’s take a look at our business community, an essential part of our life on Sanibel.

Any one of us can readily name businesses on Sanibel that have become a part of the fabric of this island. They provide goods and services at fair prices that are essential to our existence here. They are here for us in good times and in bad. They tend to our needs in a pleasant and welcoming manner. They contribute freely to worthy causes that, as residents, we also support. They operate under a good business plan and are owned, managed and staffed by capable, innovative personnel, many of whom are themselves island residents.

These businesses respect the environment, the values of our community, the needs of the residents and visitors alike and deserve our support. We as residents have a symbiotic relationship with the business community that, by definition, is of mutual benefit.

The interests of the business community should be recognized and receive appropriate consideration going forward, as they have in the past. Unreasonable impediments to the success of businesses that serve the island responsibly should be avoided. We need to listen to the needs of the business community and, wherever possible, find solutions of value to all concerned. Synergies must be found for cooperative initiatives that provide benefits to the community as a whole.

For example, the Planning Commission – while I was a member – passed a resolution that the City Council approved providing outdoor seating to eating establishments. Shortly thereafter, we identified and passed redevelopment standards for the commercial district with a clear set of guidelines for business properties as they remodel, rebuild or are created anew.

Although City government has no direct responsibility to insure the success of any given commercial establishment, it can and should provide a welcoming environment for the conduct of business.

Look around and you can identify those businesses that, by virtue of their mission and sound business plan, have enjoyed continued success here. Most important, in order to preserve the character of Sanibel, not only the residents but the commercial community as well must travel the same road with respect to the tenets of the Sanibel Plan and our land use codes.

We need to have proper regard for the business community on Sanibel and for the organizations that represent it. Their needs should be evaluated and, where appropriate, incorporated into policy that brings benefit to the residents, business owners, visitors and the island as a whole. This will give us reason to expect that what brought us here in the first place will be here in years to come.