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Planning Commission officially passes Doc Ford’s conditional use permit

By Staff | May 12, 2015

A conditional use permit to establish a new 9,185 square foot dine-in and carry-out Doc Ford’s restaurant was passed unanimously by the Sanibel Planning Commission Tuesday, this time with a lot less fanfare.

The new restaurant, which will be located at 2500 Island Inn Road, will take up 2.4 acres and will seat 214, along with 122 off-street parking spaces.

“We would like to start (construction) as soon as possible,” said Doc Ford proprietor Marty Harrity. “And we estimate it will take seven to nine months to construct, barring any summer months weather.”

Conditional permits screen chain or formula restaurants from building in the island. The original Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille was founded in Sanibel. Others are in Fort Myers Beach and Captiva.

A spirited public hearing was held during the Planning Commission’s April 28 meeting, with plenty of opposition and support voiced during the three-hour session.

Concerns of odor and noise was voiced by Planning Director Jim Jordan, stating he received a letter that morning from the architect of the Doc Ford’s new facility, that acoustic tiles and sound insulation techniques will be implemented.

“The construction plans address the two items of noise and odor,” Jordan added.

Jordan noted there was a change to the resolution for the vegetation requirements, which includes a commercial vegetation buffer at least 20-feet deep shall be located along the perimeter of all four sides of the subject parcel.

Harrity, who also sits on the Sanibel City Council, said he was satisfied with all the conditions the city set forth to be complied with.

Chairman Phil Marks opened the floor up to any public comments before the vote was held, there were none.

Since the Commission’s vote was 7-0, Marks signed the resolution Tuesday, instead of waiting the two weeks in the next meeting May 26.

The Planning Commission passed a conditional use permit to Elizabeth Pfeiffer, who is opening The Sanibel Sweet Shoppe in the Palm Ridge Place shopping center.

It was discussed and decided by the Commission, that Pfeiffer’s business will be considered a standard retail store, instead of a carry-out food store.

“The plan is to have a down home island sweet shoppe,” Pfeiffer said. “There won’t be a menu, instead a flavor of the day kind of items. All of our food will be prepared by 10 a.m. each morning.”

The items to be sold at The Sanibel Sweet Shoppe will include homemade fudge, various confections, baked good, Italian water ice and non-alcoholic beverages. There will be no inside seating available and some bench seating provided outside.

If Pfeiffer wants outdoor seating in the future, she can go through the Planning Department and not the Planning Commission.

The determination of classifying Pfeiffer’s business as a retail store and not a carry-out food business concerns the parking.

The business owner which owns the property is First Cooke Properties Florida LLC.

There are several compliance parking issues with the shopping center, but as Marks noted, that’s an issue with First Cooke Properties Florida LLC and not Pfeiffer.

“These problems are traceable to the property owner and there are lots of problems to deal with there,” Marks said. “The back of the businesses is trashy looking, it’s not nice. The responsibility of those nasty conditions is up to the (property) owner to address.”

The vote was 7-0 in favor of granting the conditional use permit to Pfeiffer.