With the approval of the City of Sanibel Planning Commission, Jerry's will soon open an indoor dining area complete with 14 seats for Coquina Coffee.
Roy Gibson, senior planner, said Jerry's is currently undergoing remodeling and is proposing to convert an existing customer service area that is located within the grocery store into a separate business and coffee shop with 14 seats. The area is located between the main entryway and the restaurant inside of Jerry's Supermarket.
According to the conditional use application from Jerry's Enterprises, Inc., the minor change to the existing coffee service area will provide "better, more personalized customer service by using store personnel to prepare the beverages for customers at an improved counter area called Coquina Coffee."
The application also stated that Coquina Coffee will be associated with Jerry's Cafe waiting area having a minimum of 14 seats with coffee tables to provide comfort and convenience for those waiting to be seated in the cafe, or waiting for their coffee.
Commissioner Holly Smith said she had one concern.
"The problem that I do have is knowing something that is pretty well constructed as we get here," she said. "We have had that in several instances. I don't understand how we are saying a development permit has been taken out, or waiting proposed development permit when basically it's ready to roll. Can you explain to me how that happens before we can approve something that they built it because it makes it very difficult in the case that we did have an issue at some point to say we are not going to do this and it's done?"
Gibson said the applicant did obtain building permits for the renovations and remodeling that is currently underway at the supermarket. He said in that review staff was informed that there was going to be a change of use within the grocery store.
"Although they are entitled to do the remodeling and renovations that are underway and almost complete, they are not entitled to change the use of this area within the grocery store that would include a new business, or a new use that involves food and beverage processing without conditional use approval," Gibson said. "So, they were informed that they must obtain a conditional use permit, which they filed the application. In doing so they also have to meet the conditional use requirements and one of those requirements is the driveway separation, which they cannot meet and they are seeking a variance from that standard."
The remodeling can be done without planning commission consideration, but the use and change of use must have the commissions consideration before implemented.
"Remodeling is one thing. Building a coffee shop is another. I guess it depends on the honesty and integrity of bringing that forward because everyone I spoke to the second it started is it was going to be a coffee shop," Smith said.
Planning Director James Jordan said the applicant obtained a building permit, which disclosed the additional coffee bar, but the building department itself did not trigger them sending the application to the planning department.
"We found out after the fact and I have to say that the applicant immediately addressed the issue. Of course with an active building permit we allowed them to pursue the improvements they were doing," Jordan said. "There was no intent by the applicant to mislead us any. It was an honest mistake."
Attorney Steven Hartsell, who spoke on behalf of Jerry's Enterprises, said Jerry's has areas within the grocery store where they sell pastries and other food items that are consumable on the premises.
"In the process of doing the remodeling, they yes acknowledged they are expanding the service to their customers. They didn't recognize there might be a need for a public hearing. However when it was brought to their attention they have been very cooperative in moving that forward," he said.
Smith said there has been a few instances where this has been brought before them when something is finished.
"There's no disrespect. I fully support the application," she said.
Although the applicant agreed to all of the conditions, one prompted further questions.
Hartsell spoke in regards to condition five, the requirement to obtain a business tax receipt for the proposed coffee bar.
"There is not a separate business there. The cash registers will be Jerry's cash registers. When you buy coffee it's going to get rung up through Jerry's. If you happen to grab a pastry, you can buy the pastry there. If you have some small grocery items, so it's not separate in any form or fashion from Jerry's, so it is really no separate use," he said.
Gibson said they will need an amended business tax receipt for the existing grocery store to include this use with the 14 indoor seats.