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Planning Commission grants conditional use permit to allow a Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar at Sundial

By Staff | Oct 22, 2015

A new kind of dining experience will be coming to Sanibel after the Sanibel Planning Commission granted Sundial Resort and Spa at 1451 Middle Gulf Drive, to add a Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar to its facility in its Tuesday, Oct. 13, meeting.

The permit includes the new restaurant venue will function separately from the existing restaurant, but will not exceed the maximum allowed seating, which is a total of 285 seats.

Sanibel Planning Director, James Jordan, recommended with the permit that if a need for extra parking arises, Sundial will have to address that issue.

The Planning Department added 11 recommendations to the permit, in which Sundial agreed to. One was the total number of available dining seats have to be restricted to a maximum of 32 seats, with no more than eight seats at each of the four hibachi cooktop tables.

One added benefit for resorts to adding to their venues is to keep their guests on grounds, which can be a factor in alleviating traffic concerns during the busy season.

The Planning Commission voted to give a continuance for a variance sought after by Charles Neuman at 720 Periwinkle Way.

The Neuman property has approximately 94 feet of seawall frontage, which is located on a canal and has a cantilevered concrete patio boat dock, a partial wood dock, an inclined elevator boat lift and two mooring pilings.

The variance sought would remove most of the existing accessory marine structures in order to construct a new L-shaped boat dock and four piling boat lift.

The Planning Department did not support or recommend approval of the dock and boat lift, because the variance would “create new or worsen existing hardship conditions on the immediately adjacent properties. It is not all feasible design options for the boat dock to have been considered to either mitigate or eliminate the need of a variance.”

The reason for the requested variance was for the ability to have two boats on the potential new dock. Brent Stokes of Stokes Marine, Inc., who was representing the Neumans, said the resident owns a 25-foot Hurricane Thruster and the marginal dock never posed a problem.

Ultimately, after much discussion, it was decided the variance would not be passed in its current form, because of safety issues and if a standard of hardship was proven.

“We need to see a better plan with this,” said Planning Commission Chair Philip Marks. “I suggest to table this and go back to the owner and change plans.”

It was added in the motion to table the variance that no incurring new fees will be added.

Another variance was continued, as well, this one which was requested by Salvo and Donna Marks (buyers) and the Glenmede Trust Company, which was representing the sellers Katherine and James Penders.

The variances sought included the new construction of a single-family residence and swimming pool at 1540 San Carlos Bay Drive and an accessory new dock with two boat lifts at 1545 San Carlos Bay Drive.

After discussion, it was apparent the variance for the building of a new residence at the 1540 San Carlos Bay Drive address would be passed, but issues arose with the building of a new dock.

“This is one of the hardest variances which has come before us,” said Planning Commission member Holly Smith.

The Planning Department did not approve of the dock plans, because of meeting hardship standards and safety issues on the canal.

Since the variance was in a single application form, but having three different applications, it was voted on to close on the variance on the single-family residence, but leave the dock variance open for the public to comment on and come back with changes to the plan in the next meeting, since there are contingencies on the sale of the properties.

“We will approve the variance on the house and close the session, while not finalizing on the dock,” Marks said. “Deliberations will continue on the dock variance in the next meeting.”

The next Planning Commission meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 27, starting at 9 a.m. at City Hall.