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Planners approve SCC proposal for parking lot

By Staff | Jun 29, 2011

During the continuation of a discussion focused on the expanded Sanibel Community Church facility, members of the Planning Commission and representatives of the church took steps to resolve the last few remaining points related to on-site parking.

On Tuesday, church officials notified the commission that they had agreed to provide 249 conventional parking spaces on their property, along with 58 “stack” spaces to be used as needed, along with 46 off-site spaces at Jerry’s Shopping Center, located next door.

According to Planning Director Jimmy Jordan, city staff and church representatives were “almost in full agreement, with the exception of only a few issues.” Greatest among those issues was requiring the grass parking lot to be delineated, marking each individual stall.

Raymond Pavelka, architect for the project, told commissioners that the church would supply a series of PVC pipes and rope barriers to indicate parking areas within the grass lot, and that they did not see the need for demarkation of spaces as well as wheel stops (bumpers) within that area.

Jordan explained that, in the opinion of the Planning Department staff, demarkation of those spaces is merited in order to make that site more accessible and efficient. Chairman Michael Valiquette asked Pavelka to confirm whether portable bumpers had been agreed to for the grass lot during the previous discussion of the subject on June 14.

“The resolution (to approve the conditional use permit) isn’t going to hang on this issue,” said Pavelka. “If your condition requires delineated parking spaces, we’re going to do it.”

Following some more discussions, commissioners agreed to allow the use of a PVC piping and rope barrier for the grass parking area, issuing a temporary permit that will allow the church a trial period of one year. Should the pipe/rope barriers prove problematic, planners could require delineated spaces throughout the entire facility.

Late last year, church leaders submitted applications for conditional use, temporary use and development permits related to their expansion plan, which includes the construction of a new 630-seat sanctuary, administrative offices, media room, book store and cafe, as well as the addition of a 600-square-foot garage, remodeling of the first and second floors of the existing Family Life Center Fellowship Hall, kitchen and historic 210-seat chapel. They also plan to expand the existing courtyard area.

Commissioners also requested additional wording to be added to the resolution section related to parking and specific to peak season and special events. An issue related to gopher tortoises being relocated, either on-site or to the Natural Resources Department’s recommendation of Bowman’s Beach Park, will also be resolved prior to the next discussion on the matter, scheduled to take place on July 12.

In other business, planners unanimously approved a resolution to allow for the continued use and after-the-fact expansion of a coffee bar business inside Bailey’s General Store as well as a development permit amending the Master Development Plan of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) for Bailey’s Shopping Center, allowing proposed and after-the-fact site improvements and revisions to the parking lot.

Also, a resolution to issue a certificate of appropriateness for the construction of a new rest area along Sanibel’s shared use path, as well as support facilities, on the historic Rutland homesite was approved, 5-1, with Dr. Phillip Marks dissenting.

Proposed amenities at the site include a gazebo-type shelter with maps and informational placards, paved and gravel or shell paths, including a loop from the shared use path, benches, bicycle racks and a water fountain.

Additionally, commissioners approved two variance applications which will allow a pair of office buildings at The Village Shops to be elevated in order to accommodate additional parking at the site.

Royal Shell Property Management and RLR Investments, LLC plan to raise the two rear office buildings in order to provide 33 new parking spaces on the ground level. They facility’s ownership hopes to attract a take-out restaurant at The Village Shops as a means of alleviating the property’s high unit turnover rate.