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Planners delay decision on Bailey’s Center applications

By Staff | Apr 27, 2011

The amended parking lot proposal for Bailey's Center, which would eliminate the driveway on Periwinkle Way next to George & Wendy's Corner Grill.

During Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, planners considered an application from owners of the Bailey’s Center, who were requesting a conditional use permit for the continued use of a coffee bar inside Bailey’s General Store as well as a development permit to allow for proposed and after-the-fact revisions to the parking lot and site improvements associated with an on-site restaurant.

Roy Gibson, representing the city’s Department of Planning, said during his presentation of a staff report that it was recommended that the commission continue the public hearing on both applications until the submitted plans were altered to comply with all required parking, driveway separation, loading area and traffic circulation requirements.

Gibson also recommended denying the applicant’s request to amend the city’s Land Development Code, which sought to reduce the number of required parking spaces on-site and waive the requirement that access driveways be no closer than 200 feet from an intersection, as well as altering setback standards for bonus outdoor seating.

“Staff would not support a reduction in parking because it would increase the non-conformity of the property,” said Gibson.

Ray Fenton, the architect representing Bailey’s Center owner Francis Bailey, countered during his presentation that the current parking requirements for the parcel — 321 spaces — had previously been reduced to 297 spaces as part of a Planned Unit Development agreement in 1995. Fenton stated that a traffic engineer conducted a survey of the property and recommended that the site required only 256 spaces. His client was only seeking a reduction in parking spaces to 275.

In addition, Fenton argued that the conditional use permit to allow for the continued use of the 320 square foot Coffee Bar @ Baileys should not be required because serving coffee is one of the permitted accessory uses of the grocery store. In the past, that area has offered a number of other services — including a delicatessen, pharmacy and bakery — none of which required a separate permit.

“I don’t think that we should even be here today, and that is my applicant’s position on this issue,” said Fenton, who also requested that Bailey’s permit application fee of $3,105 be returned to him. Bailey owns 50 percent of the coffee bar business, while the other half is owned by another Bailey’s Center tenant, Blanaid Colley.

Commission chair Michael Valiquette stated that he considered the coffee business independent of the grocery store. On a recent trip to the site, Valiquette said that he picked up a light bulb in the hardware store — also connected to Bailey’s General Store — and asked if it could be paid for at the coffee bar counter.

“I was told, ‘No. That’s a separate business,'” said Valiquette.

Fellow planner Holly Smith asked Fenton if Coffee Bar @ Baileys operated with a separate tax identification number. He confirmed that they did.

“It may put me in a bad light, but I would recommend making a motion to deny that conditional use permit is not a requirement,” said Paul Reynolds, who prior to the start of the presentation stated he would recuse himself on any vote related to the coffee bar because of his involvement with a competing business. City Attorney Ken Cuyler suggested that Reynolds abstain from making any motion or voting on the issue.

Commissioner Tom Krekel motioned that the conditional use permit for the coffee bar be required, which passed 3-1, with Dr. Phillip Marks dissenting.

Sandy Larsen, assistant engineer with the city’s Department of Public Works, announced that an agreement had been reach with the applicant, which will allow a survey of the property to ensure it is in compliance with wastewater disposal requirements and stormwater drainage issues.

After conferring with Fenton, Gibson told the commission that the staff would support the proposed elimination of an access driveway on Periwinkle Way, along with moving the entrance/exit onto Tarpon Bay Road approximately five feet in order to attain compliance.

Valiquette made a motion to continue the public hearing on the development permit issues, which was seconded by Krekel. However, Fenton asked to complete his presentation related to the bonus outdoor dining requirements for setbacks.

George & Wendy’s Corner Grill proposes an addition of four tables with four seats each — for a total of 16 diners — to be located underneath the portico at the entrance to the eatery.

“From a planning perspective, it’s no closer to the road than the existing building,” added Fenton.

Gibson explained in the staff report that it would be more appropriate for the commission to consider a variance request if the applicant demonstrated a hardship in providing outdoor bonus seating that would be compliant with Periwinkle and Tarpon Bay right-of-ways.

Planners voted unanimously to continue the hearing to a date uncertain. All businesses related to the applications are allowed to continue operations as usual, pending a final verdict yet to be determined.