Three Key Ordinances Move Forward: Leaf Blowers One of Them

by SC Reporter Reese Holiday
SC file photos by Assoc. Publisher Chuck Larsen

Council members listened to first and second readings of three key ordinances during a Sanibel City Council meeting on Tuesday, taking steps towards approval.

The ordinances related to gas-powered leaf blowers, the definition of formula retail and amending a section of the Sanibel Land Development Code so the Bailey’s Shopping Center and General Store renovations can be completed.

Unlimited Biking Sanibel applied for a conditional use permit to open its business in the Islander Center, 2407 Periwinkle Way.

The ordinance amending the definition of formula retail was unanimously approved, while the remaining two ordinances were schedule for a second reading, when there will be a public hearing, at the Aug. 24 council meeting.

The amendment to the definition of formula retail (Ordinance 21-003) started earlier this year when bike store Unlimited Biking Sanibel applied for a conditional use permit to open its business in the Islander Center, 2407 Periwinkle Way.

Sanibel Planning Commission initially denied the application due to concerns over the location, safety aspects and the commissioners wanted to address the definition of formula retail. Unlimited Biking is a national company with locations in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., which would qualify it as formula retail.

However, Director of Community Services Keith Williams explained Unlimited Biking Sanibel is not contractually obligated to operate under the same name or in the same manner as the company’s other stores which meant the island location didn’t fall under the definition of formula retail.

Commissioners later unanimously approved of an ordinance that would change the definition to fit the unique needs of companies like Unlimited Biking. It was approved Tuesday without much discussion by council after a second reading. The definition now reads:

“Formula retail store means a type of retail sales activity or retail sales establishment, with three or more locations, that maintains any of the following, which are distinctive to, or standardized among, some or all other locations: name of business, business signage, exterior design or architecture, array of merchandise, trademark or logo, uniforms.”

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers: Deadline Proposed

The use of gas-powered leaf blowers will be prohibited after Dec. 31, 2022 on Sanibel.

Sanibel City Council recently amended the hours and days during which leaf blowers can be operated – from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and federally-recognized holidays. This latest ordinance (21-004) proposes to prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers after Dec. 31, 2022 with the only exception of during a weather-related state of emergency.

The noise and air pollution that comes with gas-powered leaf blowers has been the driving force behind many residents’ and the council’s actions to prohibit them. The ordinance states, in part, it has been “deemed necessary by the council to preserve the city’s neighborhoods and quiet enjoyment of the environment….while protecting the general welfare” of everyone on the island.

The third ordinance (21-006) proposes an amendment to the Land Development Code, specifically the Planned Unit Development section for the Bailey’s Shopping Center and General Store renovations. There are several proposed changes, including the demolition of the Island Cinema to expand the general store and exterior updates.

Ordinances 21-004 and 21-006 were moved to a second reading in August.

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