Congress Jewelers is proposing an expansion into a fourth unit formerly occupied by Fanta Sea at Periwinkle Place shopping center.
Congress Jewelers is proposing an expansion into a fourth unit formerly occupied by Fanta Sea at Periwinkle Place shopping center.

Congress Jewelers may be expanding its retail space by 1,000 square feet at its location within Periwinkle Place shopping center. Sanibel Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the conditional use permit at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8, in MacKenzie Hall. The ultimate decision will be made by City Council.

The island-family-owned jewelry store currently occupies three units for combined 3,000 square feet and proposing an expansion into a fourth unit formerly occupied by Fanta Sea – making it the largest retail space within the shopping center.

The applicant is requesting the expansion of a unit that is already exceeding 2,000 square feet, but it is grandfathered in,” explained Planning Supervisor Roy Gibson. “The existing commercial retail unit existed before the standard that required conditional use approval.”

Changes to commercial regulations of the Land Development Code in early 2007 require a conditional use permit for new or consolidated retail units exceeding 2,000 square feet. Additionally, city staff found there will be no change of business use and the consolidation would not increase the overall commercial space, traffic flow or parking requirements at the shopping center.

The application adequately and sufficiently addressed the six conditional use general standards and the seven specific requirements,” Gibson said.

Commissioner Richard Johnson applauded the process. “What we experienced today is what our forefathers intended,” he said. “We should do everything we can to encourage development and success of island businesses like Congress.”

The City Council quasi-judicial hearing for consideration of the conditional use permit is scheduled for 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15 at MacKenzie Hall, 800 Dunlop Rd.