The City of Sanibel Planning Commission approved the removal of 20 feet of wall at the Periwinkle Shopping Center to expand Sand Castle Gifts and Gourmet into an adjoining unit.
Senior Planner Roy Gibson said the application is to allow the existing retail store to expand into another unit. The center, Periwinkle Shopping Center, is within the city's general commercial district.
"Any permitted use that involves the onsite food preparation, or processing of food, or beverages is defined as a conditional use and subject to conditional use approval," Gibson said.
The applicant, David Kempkers, purchased the retail sales business, Sand Castle Gifts and Gourmet, as an existing unit in the center in 2011. When Kempkers showed interest in expanding to the next unit, city staff identified that the existing business has been permitted as a retail sales, but never authorized by the city for onsite food preparation and processing, Gibson explained.
"It has been determined that use, that activity involving onsite food preparation and processing has been ongoing at this location for many years. So inadvertently this business has been operating without conditional use approval within unit 20," he said.
Kempkers said they have always been a deli, gourmet food shop.
"When we bought this store in 2011, we paid for a business tax receipt and came into City Hall because I think there was a one month overlap," he said.
As did the previous owners for the last 15-20 years, Kempkers said they make key lime pie, crab dip, and brew pots of pure coffee. They also sell horseradish dip, good quality sliced cheese, and Queenie's ice cream.
"At the time when we paid for our first business tax receipt, we explained to the city we prep food. And I said is there anything else we need to do," he said. "And no, there is nothing. I guess I really don't get why I have to pay for the oversight."
Gibson said the application was not to expand the food preparation and processing, but rather to expand the store into two units, 20 and 21. A 20 foot section of the wall will be removed to combine the two units.
Kempkers said the main reason they are expanding is to make the shopping experience more pleasurable because every time he is at the store he gets claustrophobic. He wants his customers to have the ability to actually browse the store comfortably.