Planners OK variance, permit for Poco Loco
During its final meeting of 2009, the Planning Commission granted a variance to the city’s Land Development Code and approved a conditional use permit for an eatery within Jerry’s Shopping Center, to be called Poco Loco.
“Do we know what Poco Loco means?” commissioner Holly Smith asked during the session.
“It means ‘a little crazy,'” responded applicant Susan Reynolds, managing partner of the dine-in and take-out restaurant which will feature freshly-grown gourmet coffee and fancy Italian ice creams, called “gelato.”
Planner Paul Reynolds, the husband of the applicant, quipped, “If this was going to be named after me, it would be called ‘Mucho Loco.'”
Commissioners pondered the request for a variance to Land Development Code Section 126-91, which requires a minimum 200-foot separation between the shopping center’s driveway and the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Casa Ybel Road.
According to the staff report, delivered by department director Jimmy Jordan, the existing code requirement came as a result of a 1981 court settlement which required that the owner of the site add a second driveway as well as reimburse the City of Sanibel’s Police Department for traffic control during peak traffic periods.
“I don’t think the variance is necessary and I think we should move along without it,” said planner Les Forney, noting that the requirements set by the code have been met for decades.
Another issue which was discussed were the number of parking spaces required at the shopping center. Because of the intended use of the space is for an eating establishment, an additional 20 parking spaces would be required under the existing code. By contrast, a retail space would only require seven additional spaces.
“The staff report has determined that the 222 existing parking spaces are sufficient for this shopping center,” said Jordan, who also noted the report estimated that only 167 spaces – or 75 percent – of the current spaces are required to meet the demand during peak periods of use.
Commissioner Tom Krekel pointed out that on the survey plat provided in the report, only 211 parking spaces are identified. Jordan explained that the discrepancy between the numbers of the 2006 boundary survey (211) and current total (222) had to do with a restriping of the parking lot completed after the most recent survey.
Asked what kind of reaction she has heard from other retailers within Jerry’s Shopping Center, Susan Reynolds said, “Everybody we’ve talked to is just thrilled to death.”
Chairman Michael Valiquette motioned to approve both requests, which was seconded by Smith. The commission voted unanimously in favor of the application, 6-0, with Paul Reynolds recusing himself.
Poco Loco is hoping to conduct a soft opening of their business within four to six weeks.
Also, planners voted in favor of amending a previously approved resolution which will allow the owners of the Tarpon Bay Road Medical Facility to construct their planned buildings on an elevated base.
By raising both buildings 24 inches, the applicant will have less expenses to meet the flood insurance requirements on the property, located at 600 Tarpon Bay Road.
The proposed medical facility will include two buildings and will house seven practitioners and 14 employees. 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.
Planners also bid farewell to Patty Sprankle, whose resignation becomes effective on Dec. 31.
At the Jan. 5 City Council meeting, Sanibel leaders will select three commissioners to fill the planners’ seven-member dais. Sprankle’s vacated seat has one year remaining in the term, while current commissioners Valiquette and Forney have applied for reappointment. Their seats are for three-year terms.
Also running for spots on the commission are six other islanders – Christopher Heidrick, Chuck Ketteman, Kathy McCabe, Larry Schopp, Karen Storjohann and Jeff Weigel.