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FantaSea received conditional use permit for store

By Staff | Jun 15, 2016

The City Council approved a conditional use permit for FantaSea last week during its Tuesday meeting.

With the unanimous vote came seven conditions – the unit shall be permitted to operate as a formula retail store known as FantaSea; a separate conditional use approval will be obtained if any changes of use for the commercial unit are made; the store shall maintain the required general and specific conditions for the formula retail store; no merchandise is to be displayed outside of the unit, unless part of holiday sidewalk sale approved as a special event; a short-form change of use development permit is to be obtained; a valued business tax receipt is to be obtained and the subject property owner of Periwinkle Place shall not finalize any new commercial leases without the tenant obtaining required permits, zoning approvals and business tax receipts.

James Jordan, City of Sanibel planning director, said FantaSea, at 2075 Periwinkle Way, specializing in home accessories and artwork.

Because the operation meets the city’s definition of a retail store, it had to be approved for conditional use, he said.

“The ordinance was adopted in 2006 by the city to make sure that the balance and tourist and residential and retail stores stayed in harmony,” Jordan said.

The ordinance was adopted on Feb. 20, 2007 to preserve “Sanibel’s economic visibility and diversity, community character and unique composition of island serving commercial land uses with a particular emphasis towards balancing retail stores that serve and cater to island residents versus only the tourist segment of the island.”

A definition for formula retail use was also established, including a maximum “commercial floor area threshold of 50,000 square feet.” Anything exceeding that number would have to be approved by City Council. The FantaSea business, which is 1,000 square foot, meets the definition of a formula retail store, as well as exceeds the maximum 50,000 square foot commercial floor area threshold.

“The main premise of those conditions is that this particular use does not upset the balance between the former retail stores that are designed for tourists and resident use,” Jordan said.

The existing formula retail store square footage was 49,737 before FantaSea was approved. Unless one of the existing formula retail stores closes, they will have to go before the City Council to receive approval due to FantaSea increasing the total square footage to 50,737.

The retail store, submitted an application, which went before the planning commission on May 10. Jordan said the business opened prematurely before it actually received approval.

“The city has a code enforcement policy trying to work toward compliance instead of enforcement,” he said. “So, once we did put the applicant on notice they did eventually come around.”

A notice of violation was sent by the City of Sanibel to FantaSea for conducting a business without a business tax receipt, as well as operating without a conditional use permit in September 2015.