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Plan approved to raise Village Shop buildings

By Staff | Jul 13, 2011

A resolution that will allow the owners of The Village Shops to elevate a pair of office buildings at the rear of the property, which will create 33 additional parking spaces underneath those buildings, was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission at their Tuesday meeting.

Following last month’s hearing, during which commissioners heard the application submitted by Lisa Bramm from Royal Shell Property Management and RLR Investments, LLC on behalf of the Village of Sanibel Commercial Condominium Association, Inc., requesting two variance to the city’s Land Development Code, the six-member panel — with Chuck Ketteman excused — voted 6-0 in favor of Resolution 11-10.

Planners approved variances to allow the maximum land area to be covered with impermeable surfaces to exceed 45 percent of the lot area, and to allow the maximum land area to be used as developed area to exceed 50 percent of the lot area.

In her application to the city’s Department of Planning, Bramm wrote that The Village Shops property has never thrived since its inception in 1985-86, the primary reason cited being the lack of a take-out restaurant.

“Since there isn’t a take-out business, the facility doesn’t draw as much traffic as we’d like to see at the shopping center,” Bramm said after Tuesday’s session. “We had done a land use study, and the problem was our need for additional parking.”

With the parking already inadequate for a facility the size of The Village Shops, and having exhausted the possibility of purchasing more land on either size of their parcel, Bramm happened upon the idea of elevating the two rear office buildings by chance.

“I was getting into my car last summer and thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have covered parking instead of having our cars sitting out in the sun all day?'” recalled Bramm.

Nine months later, her idea is finally coming to fruition.

Bramm explained that she is currently soliciting bids for the construction work, which will not interrupt business activities at the facility for any of the tenants. After the construction plans are approved by the Board of Directors, the project should take two to three months to complete.

“Hopefully, we’ll start work on this by the end of the summer or early in the fall,” she added.

The project includes installing new entry staircases, elevators, a handicap ramp and the ingress and egress areas provided for the lower level parking area that extend beyond the footprint of the elevated office buildings.

Currently, the facility has 89 onsite parking spaces. The minimum parking requirement for the parcel is 115 spaces, which will be exceeded following completion of the project.

The Planning Commission previously canceled its July 26 meeting due to lack of agenda items. Their next session has been scheduled for Aug. 9.