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Planners approve altered medical facility site plan

By Staff | Dec 10, 2009

While the Planning Commission had been scheduled to discuss a single alteration of a previously approved site plan for the proposed Tarpon Bay Road Medical Center, they wound up approving two.

During Tuesday’s meeting, planners heard testimony from Joe Lutz, representing the Samuel L. Bailey Trust, owner of the property located at 600 Tarpon Bay Road, and project architect Fernando Hernandez, along with Director of Planning Jimmy Jordan.

The applicant, Dr. John Frizzell, is seeking to construct two single-story office buildings on the 2.4 acre parcel. The gastroenterologist from Frederick, Md. who also owns a home on West Gulf Drive, would like the facility to offer medical specialists – such as a cardiologist, oncologist, pediatrician, OB/GYN, family practitioner, etc. – and laboratories for blood work and/or X-ray examinations which are currently not available on Sanibel.

Building “A” would be comprised of one unit containing 1,953 square feet of space and three units, each containing 1,245 square feet of space. Building “B” would be comprised of three units, each containing 1,896 square feet of space. The facility would accommodate seven practitioners and 14 employees.

Planners were introduced to the proposed facility during the summer and they approved the initial site plan at their Oct. 13 meeting. However, the applicant has since made a minor change to their proposal.

According to Jordan’s staff report, the applicant was seeking to amend one condition of the previously-adopted resolution at it pertains to flood and storm-proofing requirements. They asked to have the option of raising both buildings by a total of 24 inches in order to reach the minimum base flood elevation of 9.0 feet NAVD.

“By utilizing this alternative method of construction, the applicant is offered a more cost-effective approach when compared to flood-proofing,” said Jordan.

While all of the commissioners appeared to agree with the request, one planner – Dr. Phillip Marks – raised the question on another issue: the number of handicapped parking spaces provided at the facility.

While the city requirements for handicapped spaces (four) at a structure of identical size, Dr. Marks emphasized that such a facility being used for medical purposes would likely see the need to have more such spaces available for its clients. He also noted the discrepancy between Attachment B – the amended site plan, which identified four handicap-accessible parking spaces on the west side of the facility – and Attachment D – the master development plan, which identified eight such spaces, four on the east side and four on the west.

After a brief discussion, Lutz agreed to have the applicant expand the number of handicapped spaces on the west side of the building to six.

Planners approved the amended conditions by a vote of 6-0, with Chairman Mike Valiquette recusing himself due to a potential conflict of interest in the future. Valiquette, who owns Sandcastle Construction, made it clear that he currently has no personal or professional connection to the project.

In other business, Jordan notified the commission about a public hearing schedule for their next session, on Tuesday, Dec. 22 beginning at 9:15 a.m. The topic of that hearing centers around a request for a variance to the current Land Development Code at the Jerry’s Shopping Center.

Robert Monk, the attorney for property owner Jerry’s Foods, Inc. on behalf of applicant Poco Loco, will present a request for a conditional use permit for an eatery within the plaza. The proposed restaurant will serve deli foods, coffee and ice cream.

“We’re still waiting on the traffic report,” said Jordan, who noted the current 200-foot separation requirement between the access driveway and the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Casa Ybel Road. “Hopefully, we’ll have that in time to conduct the staff report and have this ready in time for your discussion on the 22nd.”