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Planners approve permit for Sanibel Olive Oil Company

By Staff | Sep 14, 2011

Following a brief discussion, the Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Sanibel Olive Oil Company, 10 months after discovering the business should have been required to file as a formula retail store.

According to Benjamin Pople of the city’s Planning Department, the retailer – located in the Periwinkle Place Shopping Center – opened in October 2010. Within two weeks of granting Arnish Patel, owner of the Sanibel Olive Oil Company, a business tax license, staff members discovered that he operated two other stores (in Sarasota and Naples) which offer similar products for sale.

Patel was notified by Pople the applicable definitions of a formula retail store, and that he would be required to apply for a conditional use permit. Patel filed his application on Feb. 25.

Commissioner Tom Krekel questioned whether city staff could identify applicants who qualify as a formula retail store prior to issuance of their business tax license. Holly Smith also inquired what search process the Planning Department conducts in researching such applications.

Jimmy Jordan, Director of Planning, told the commission that staff now conducts a throughout background check process, and that the Sanibel Olive Oil Company application was only the third among three after-the-fact applications (following Synergy and Norris Home Furnishings) to be brought before the seven-member panel.

Patel explained in a letter to the Planning Department that he considered his business unique from his other stores, noting that the variety of products offered were independent from one another as was the name and appearance of each outlet.

After some additional debate on where the responsibility for determining the identity of a formula retail store would fall upon, commission chairman Mike Valiquette made a motion to approve the application. Krekel seconded the motion, which passed 7-0.

In other business, a resolution approving applications to remove and replace the seawall cap and tieback anchors, install approximately 530 cubic yards of rip-rap revetment at the toe of the seawall and removing and replacing of 4,500 square feet of boardwalk along the seawall at Mariner Point Condominiums was given the go-ahead by the commission.