homepage logo

Shore Haven ‘cottage’ will move to Historical Village

By Staff | Jul 27, 2012

JIM LINETTE The "Caretaker's Cottage" associated with the Shore Haven home won approval from the Plan Commission Tuesday to be added to the list of historical sites and structures and to be moved to the Sanibel Historical Village & Museum.

The so-called “Caretaker’s Cottage” on the property where the Shore Haven home stands won approval of the Sanibel Plan Commission Tuesday to join Shore Haven in a proposed move to the Sanibel Historical Village & Museum.

First, the cottage had to be approved to be added to the local list of historical sites and structures to be eligible for consideration by the Historical Village.

Shore Haven was approved for its move in March, at a cost of about $150,000, according to museum president Alex Werner. The entire process of the move already has taken more than seven months with formal approval by the City Council remaining.

“I’d like to get them moved as soon as possible,” said Werner. “Now that the museum is closing, we could have it all done by the end of August or early September. Once it starts going it goes quick.”

Planning Department staff member Roy Gibson presented recommendations to the commission Tuesday, including putting the cottage on the register of of historic sites and to revise the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Shore Haven move to also include the cottage.

Gibson said the department does not support the relocation of a 1992 sun room addition to Shore Haven because to do so is inconsistent with established policy of preservation and restoration to accurately depict their original form.

However, Werner said the museum and the Historical Preservation Committee boards agree that it would incur additional costs to remove the sun room and restore the original siding.

“From the practical aspect, it is easier to move it to lessen the cost,” said Werner. “We need the extra storage space and it’s fully air conditioned.”

Shore Haven is intended to house the museum administrative offices and to help admit visitors in a more open and orderly manner. The cottage will be used to offer visitors displays and relate the historical value of black people on the island.

“That’s something we have never been able to do before,” said Werner. “We would have missed that asset without this cottage.”

Commissioners questioned the inclusion of the sun room addition in the move as it relates to the historical mission of the museum’s purpose.

“We are tweaking not breaking,” said Werner. “The interior of museum buildings are all modernized. It’s a cost factor. We have to make electrical upgrades to the property for the air conditioning and to have cash registers and computer lines.”

The museum’s current circumstances indicate a need for the added space to which everyone consented.

“Allowing the addition to be moved now does not mean it can’t be removed and restored after the move sometime in the future,” injected Gibson.

In the end, Werner and the Preservation Committee’s willingness to accept the cost versus historic value tradeoff the plan commission backed the project unanimously.

“The summer is really the best time for us to do this,” concluded Werner. “We won’t have to deal with visitors around a construction zone.”

With that matter settled, the commission went into its subcommittee meeting to review the conditional use permitting process.

Commissioners continue to wrestle with the proposal of making the long process easier, less costly and less frustrating for new businesses wanting to locate on the island.

The particular bone of contention is the definition of a formula retail store, i.e. a store with multiple locations especially those with existing off-island locations.

“It’s always been the purpose of this community to protect the mom-and-pop island businesses against the unfair purchasing power of multiple location stores,” said subcommittee chairman Tom Krekel.

The current definition requires retail stores to apply for a conditional use permit if they meet any of seven factors: standardized business name; standardized business signage; standardized architecture; standardized array of merchandise; or share trademark, logo or uniforms as other stores.

Commissioner Chuck Ketteman proposed relaxing that to “a number of” these factors, though no one could agree on what “number” or how to determine that number.

After much back-and-forth discussion, the committee tabled the dialog and decided to call on the Chamber of Commerce and business community to make recommendations on improvements they would like to see in the code before the next committee meeting on Aug. 28.