The Siesta Key Coalition exists to protect the unique character, environment, and quality of life of our island home of Siesta Key. We are committed to preventing the development of large-scale hotels that would remove protections for the barrier island, and allow building beyond current zoning and codes. The Coalition, the Siesta Key Association, the Siesta Key Condominium Council, and many community organizations, oppose any non-compliant hotel developments, now and in the future.
Our barrier island is a unique community of residential neighborhoods, small businesses, vacation homes, and condominiums. Our Public Beach was named #1 Beach USA, twice. Our tourism tax has supported many off-island county-wide projects.
The Coalition was formed initially to oppose an 8-story, 170-room hotel, on less than one acre at the south end of Siesta Key Village, a project that will egregiously exceed the existing “by-right” zoning limitations. Subsequently, it became apparent that at least two more proposed hotels were being considered (in the Stickney Point Area, and on Ocean Boulevard) that would exacerbate the threat to the island. Our coalition is not opposed to the re-development of properties on Siesta Key in general. In fact, we strongly favor economic growth on the island, but not if it involves revising and circumventing existing protective policies, regulations, and codes, which will result in adverse consequences.
These protections were strategically developed and implemented for Siesta Key in collaboration with Sarasota County Commissioners, Planning Commissioners, and the entire Siesta Key residential and business communities, between 1999 and 2002.
The hotel developers seek multiple amendments and special exceptions to these long-established protective policies, including the Uniform Development Code (UDC), the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) and the Future Land Use (FLU) for the Barrier Islands These regulations restrict transient accommodations, limit building height, control building density, and setbacks, and discourage this kind of intense development. Removing these protections is dangerous county-wide, and will impact other similarly-zoned properties on Siesta Key.
We urge the Board of County Commissioners to deny the developers the special exceptions and precedent-setting amendments they seek and to vote to preserve Siesta Key as a unique destination and home, keeping Siesta Key an exception to the many over-developed coastal communities in Florida.
Why are we concerned?
We are not anti-development and we consider ourselves pro-economic growth. We are not crazy neighbors with emotional, narrow self-interests. In fact, we would support the redevelopment of this site if it were consistent with the “by-right” zoning and compliant with the Siesta Key Overlay District. Sarasota County has many attractive and unique areas, including the Main Street environment in downtown Sarasota, the urban arts and cultural venues, the shopping district of St. Armand’s Circle, and the individual vibe and character of each of its Barrier Islands, such as Siesta Key. Sarasota County’s unique areas are how it is differentiated from other eastern Florida coastal cities that allowed more comprehensive over-development, commercialization and density.
We cannot support such a large-scale transient development at this location for many reasons, including height, congestion, transient commercialization, safety, beach impact, and residential invasion. Equally important, we find this developer’s requests for multiple Special Exceptions and text amendments to the Uniform Development Code, the Siesta Key Overlay District, and Future Land Use policies as very dangerous precedents that will open the floodgates for other commercial developers on Siesta Key and throughout Sarasota County. These codes and restrictions were put in place to prevent this very type of “density and intensity” from changing the character of Siesta Key.
What is our goal?
Our objective is to dissuade the developers from continuing its pursuit of their proposed transient hotel plan and focus on a compliant and appropriate development. However, if they continue with this plan, we are prepared to continue to grow our SK Coalition, to educate other HOAs and organizations on our concerns, and to fully engage in the public process (press and social media, workshops, hearings, etc.).
The Leadership Of
The Siesta Key Coalition
Siesta Key Coalition, Inc.
Mark T Spiegel
Rodney M Linford
Siesta Key Association
Siesta Key Condominium Council