Commission supports resort redevelopment
The Sanibel Planning Commission recently approved the reconstruction of a 46-unit resort housing complex on West Gulf Drive to include a new restaurant with tiki bar, retail space and more.
At its Aug. 14 meeting, commissioners voted unanimously 7-0 to approve an application for a development permit to redevelop the Sanibel Sunset Beach Resort, at 3287 West Gulf Drive, and an application for a conditional use permit to allow for resort housing accessory commercial uses.
Submitted by Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh on behalf of the property owner, BRE/Sanibel Beach Owner, the development permit will allow for the demolition and removal of all existing buildings and accessory structures on the property hotel, swimming pool and deck, tennis court, fence, shuffleboard courts, parking areas, walkways and such for the construction of a new three-story 46-unit hotel, swimming pool and deck, parking areas, walkways and such.
The conditional use permit will allow for the restaurant and tiki bar with outdoor seating, about 200 square feet of retail space for food items and sundries, onsite spa and fitness facilities, and beach equipment for owners and guests, including bikes, paddleboards, kayaks, chairs and umbrellas.
According to a report from city staff, the resort was developed in the late 1960s prior to the city’s incorporation. Staff worked with the applicant for over a year reviewing the applicable resort housing standards, with respect to various plans and the different components of the redevelopment plans.
The proposal eliminates the site’s existing nonconformities, except for development intensity.
“Staff finds that the subject applications for a development permit and a conditional use are complete and are consistent with all applicable requirements of the Sanibel Plan and Land Development Code,” the report states.
Roy Gibson, acting director for the Sanibel Planning Department, went over the specifics of the proposal for the commission. He commended the applicant and team on their work with city staff.
“To bring plans for a project that does conform with all applicable standards within the resort housing district and the underlying ecological zone standards,” he said.
“We support the planning commission’s approval of these two applications, subject to the 13 conditions that are included within the staff report,” Gibson added.
The commissioners offered up their comments.
“Before you is one of the largest reconstructions in the resort district in the history of our city,” Chair Philip Marks said to his peers. “We’re getting our first and certainly the biggest and most complex one that we’ve seen.”
He noted the work that went into the proposal.
“The evidence of this is showing in the commitment of the applicant to build a safer, aesthetically pleasing and marked improvement to the existing resort hotel,” Marks said.
Commissioner Richard Johnson echoed that sentiment.
“I applaud the hard work that staff and the applicant went into,” he said, pointing to the existence of “aged and dated resort housing” on the island. “I absolutely commend the owner and the applicant for taking this action. I think it’s a great move.”
Commissioner Matthew Kirchner agreed.
“Great job,” he said. “I applaud the project in general. It’s going to be great for the island.”
Commissioner Karen Storjohann noted that she lives adjacent to the property.
“I’m glad to see this change,” she said. “A great improvement.”
IN OTHER NEWS
– The commission approved for a residence at 923 South Yachtsman Drive an application for a variance to allow for the installation of a new boat lift to extend waterward of an existing dock farther than the maximum permitted waterward extension limit and an application for a development permit to allow for the construction of a 4 foot-by-8 foot addition to an existing dock, installation of a four-pile boat lift and 5 foot-by-12 foot floating PWC lift, and the dredging of approximately 260 cubic yards of material from the bottom of the canal surrounding the dock and boat lifts.
– The commission approved for a residence at 825 Limpet Drive an application for a variance to allow for the construction of a boat dock and two boat lifts closer than 15 feet from the southerly side yard property line as extended into the water and an application for a development permit to allow for the construction of a boat dock and two boat lifts and the dredging of approximately 50 cubic yards of material from the bottom of the canal surrounding the dock and boat lifts.
– The commission approved for a residence at 558 North Yachtsman Drive an application for a variance to allow for the installation of a new boat lift to extend waterward of an existing dock farther than the maximum permitted waterward extension limit.
– The commission approved for a residence at 605 Lighthouse Way an application for a variance to allow for the installation of a new boat lift to extend waterward of a proposed new dock, farther than the maximum permitted waterward extension limit.