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Jewelry store expansion is approved by planners

By Staff | Jul 15, 2009

During Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, a proposed expansion of the building which houses Lily & Co. Jewelers was unanimously approved following a brief discussion of the plan, which initially required a review by the city’s Historical Preservation Committee.

Because the structure, located at 520 Tarpon Bay Road, had been placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks – as the island’s School For Black Children -any alterations to the building requires both a certificate of appropriateness from Sanibel’s planning department and compliance to the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for rehabilitation.

In their application, the jewelry store owners requested to remove the existing portico – formerly used as drive-thru lanes when the structure was being operated as a bank – and enclose that space, expanding the square footage of the building by 446 square feet. New exterior walls and siding would match the existing building in appearance.

As the subject came before the commission, chairman Mike Valiquette informed city attorney Ken Cuyler that due to his personal relationship with Lily & Co. owners Karen Bell and Dan Schuyler, he would recuse himself from voting on the matter. Cuyler told the remaining commissioners that although Valiquette would not take part in any vote related to the subject, he could participate in the discussions.

The first order of business was to remove Valiquette and the name of his company – Sandcastle Construction – from the application. Valiquette said that he was working on the project “as a friend” and was not being paid nor is any contract in place between his company and the jewelers. Bell told the commission that she would like to change the name of the applicant on the document being submitted to her company, Sanibel-Captiva Properties, Inc.

“For the record, this application has gone before the Historical Preservation Committee, with a recommendation for approval,” said Jimmy Jordan, Director of Planning.

Commissioner Tom Krekel asked whether the application was in agreement with all city ordinances for historic structures, which Jordan confirmed. Fellow planner Dr. Phillip Marks questioned what purpose the expanded space would serve. Bell noted that the space would be used to expand the existing showroom.

“Everything will look the same throughout,” added Schuyler.

The commission voted 5-0 in favor of approving the application, with Valiquette abstaining and planner Patty Sprankle excused due to her absence. The application will be brought back for final approval at the next meeting of the Planning Commission, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 9 a.m.