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Huxter’s on Periwinkle Way to gain a much-needed facelift

By Staff | Sep 2, 2015

An old favorite of Sanibel’s will be getting a facelift starting this year.

The new owners for Huxter’s Market and Deli and Huxter’s Liquors (1201/1203 Periwinkle Way) were granted a waiver request by the Sanibel Planning Commission to allow for facade and roof modifications to a “lawfully existing nonconforming commercial building”.

The owners, Sanibel Tortuga Properties, LLC, proposed to modify the front entry and roof facade of the Huxter’s market building and modify the front parking spaces to accommodate new landscaping along the front and side of the building.

Other proposals included installing some new landscaping and replace some existing outdoor light fixtures.

The waiver request is the first one heard by the Planning Commission since the Sanibel City Council passed an ordinance to allow waiver requests, despite the structure being nonconforming.

“This is why the waiver was put in place,” said Planning Commission member Holly Smith. “This (request) is a textbook example of the waiver process when the City Council passed the ordinance.”

Director of Planning Jim Jordan added the modifications to the building are a welcome move by the owners, since it isn’t in the best condition cosmetically, and used a “pimple on Ms. America’s face” reference in describing the older facility.

“It also was described as the wart of Periwinkle,” said Dan Murphy with a chuckle, who is one of the owners of the property, after purchasing it last November. “We have 13 employees, as well, with five residing on Sanibel and we thank the Commission for allowing us the opportunity to make a better impression on visitors to the island.”

The Huxter building was built in 1971, before Sanibel was incorporated as a city, thus its nonconforming structures were grandfathered in. The property is nonconforming with current flood-proofing or elevation requirements and maxim permitted commercial floor area ratio.

A waiver was requested because the proposed building modifications will also not comply with the setback requirements, but will not encroach any further into any of rehired setback than the existing building.

The waiver also will include parking modifications, because they will not comply with current setback requirements, but will not encroach any further upon any required setbacks than the existing parking spaces.

Two parking spaces will be eliminated along the front of the building, but will be replaced along the rear of the building and will off-set any increase in developed area by removing an equal amount of gravel area behind the facility with new landscaping.

Replacing existing nonconforming outdoor light fixtures to new Dark Sky ordinance conforming fixtures will be done, as well.

But the waiver process allows the property owners not to have to make much larger and more expensive modifications to bring it in compliance with Sanibel’s ordinances, proving a hardship and a practical reason for not being “able to meet the regulation as a result of the particular shape, size, location or topography of a lot or parcelwhich would cause practical difficulties that would deprive the owner of reasonable use and enjoyment of such a lot or parcel in the same manner as other properties similarly situated.”

“This does not extend the nonconformity (of the structure),” Jordan added.

Murphy said the remodeling will start this year, yet, and will include a number of phases.

“We will be doing a facade improvement and beyond that, we will be remodeling the inside and maybe be able to remodel the rear of the store and add an exit to the back, so we can have two exits,” Murphy said.

There were six requirements the Planning Commission can use to approve a waiver, which the majority were met.

There also were 10 recommendations made by the Planning Department to the property owners, which were all agreed upon.

“We are very supportive of the waiver concept,” said Sanibel-Captive Chamber of Commerce’s Ric Base. “It allows the opportunity to enhancing our businesses.”

The decision to cut the Planning Commission’s meeting schedule to just once a month, still has to be approved by the Sanibel City Council and go through the appropriate steps before coming official.