Where In Florida Is Siesta Key Beach

Well over 100 people marched down Beach Road on Siesta Key on Sunday holding signs favoring incorporation of the barrier island and chanting "hear our voice" and "let us vote."

Several times, passing cars honked in support of the effort by Save Siesta Key Inc. to see the question of whether Siesta Key should become Sarasota County's newest municipality.

State legislators Sen. Joe Gruters and Rep. Fiona McFarland will hold a town hall meeting Wednesday on Siesta Key to hear from the residents and discuss potential legislation. If a bill is passed, that would put the question of incorporation on the next ballot, and if a majority votes in favor, Siesta Key would join North Port, Sarasota and Long Boat Key as incorporated governments inside Sarasota County.

Save Siesta Key Inc. has been working for most of this year for a referendum after several large hotels were proposed for the key. Two of the four proposed hotels have been approved by the County Commission despite strong community mobilization and advocacy against what advocates have called "high-density hotels."

Coverage of Siesta Key hotel development: Disputed Siesta Key hotel project moves ahead after Sarasota County Commission removes hotel room cap

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And: Siesta Key hotel development challenged in court by Sarasota County resident

Well over 100 people marched down Beach Road in Siesta Key in favor of incorporating the barrier island into Sarasota's newest town.
Well over 100 people marched down Beach Road in Siesta Key in favor of incorporating the barrier island into Sarasota's newest town.

Ellen Solomons moved to Siesta Key in the early 1990s and has lived on the barrier island for more than 30 years.

She said that she choose Siesta Key because of its laid-back feel and how the area felt more family-centered than on the east coast of Florida.

"When you came over the bridge," she said, "you could just feel your blood pressure drop."

Despite some modest commercial development over the years, she said Siesta Key still feels family-centered and small. She is worried the hotels could change that.

"These hotels are just going to destroy the ambiance of the island," she said.

Mark Spiegel, president of the Siesta Key Coalition, has been one of the people fighting the proposed hotels, but before now he had not been involved in the incorporation effort.

That changed this week as the board of the Siesta Key Coalition voted in support of putting the question of whether Siesta Key should be its own town on a referendum.

"Having witnessed the process, we need better local representation," Spiegel said on Sunday.

Many people marching on Sunday had stronger condemnation of the process than Spiegel.

Linda Dickinson said she's frustrated.

"I am sick and tired of taxation with no representation," she said.

Julie Brown said called the march a manifestation of the island's frustration.

"Things have come to a head," she said. "People on the key have realized we don't have a say."

Eileen Jones said, "people on Siesta Key are simply tired of not having a voice."

More Siesta Key news: Leaders to hold Siesta Key town hall to discuss 'potential legislation' on incorporation

More: Siesta Key hotel development challenged in court by Sarasota County resident

Jann Webster and Ashley Lebak helped organize the march, which started at the public parking area for Siesta Key Beach, with participants walking along Beach Road for about a mile.

Lebak said her family moved to Siesta Key in the 1960s, with her joining them as full-time residents about two years ago. The 31-year-old jokes that she's one of the youngest residents in her condo building, but she loves the island and Sarasota County, showing off an SRQ tattoo on her wrist.

Both Webster and Lebak are ambassadors with Save Siesta Key Inc. They started handing out fliers highlighting four events, including the upcoming town hall meeting just this past Wednesday.

Both were impressed with the turnout but said they expect to double the showing next Sunday when they plan to walk along Beach Road again from 11 a.m. until noon, waving signs and chanting in favor of incorporation.

"Nothing means more to me than this place," Lebak said.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Siesta Key residents frustrated by hotels rally to incorporate

Source : https://news.yahoo.com/siesta-key-residents-frustration-display-204749193.html

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