An application for a conditional use permit to a new Billy's Bike Rentals location was approved 7-0 by the Sanibel Planning Commission.
Billy Kirkland of Billy's Bike Rentals submitted the application asking for a permit to open a rental business inside vacant space at the Bailey's Shopping Center. The 2,856 square-foot unit would house 400 bicycles, 30 beach chairs, 30 umbrellas, five beach wheelchairs, and 12 stand-up paddle boards, according to the application.
All commercial activities will be conducted inside the vacant space at the shopping center, he said, meaning no expansion of the commercial floor area.
"The business transactions take place in the building," said Kirkland, explaining how the parking area will also be open to the public.
Three parking spaces at the center will be repurposed to serve as a bicycle parking area, decreasing the amount of spaces at the shopping center from 282 to 279.
Kirkland said between 30-40 percent of his business is delivering rentals and not many customers are parking their cars all day while cycling.
Chuck Ketteman, a member of the Planning Commission, said his major concerns with the application were traffic flow and vegetation near the proposed site. Not only does he want traffic to be improved along Periwinkle Way, but he wants to ensure new vegetation doesn't hinder a car's line-of-sight to bicyclists.
"This is going to take some pressure off Billy's other bike store and will help traffic a lot on Periwinkle," he said. "It's a wonderful benefit for the community."
Richard Johnson, general manager at Bailey's, said businesses at the shopping center are unique in that they operate at different hours of the day so removing parking spots won't burden customers.
"We aren't going to sacrifice safety to run a business or impede our customers," said Johnson. "We think this is a good change for the community and center."