SK Coalition

Updated November 21, 2020

Mission Statement

The Siesta Key Coalition exists to protect the unique nature of Siesta Key, the island we love, by preventing the development of a large-scale, 8-story, 170-room hotel, on less than one acre at the south end of Siesta Key Village.   The developer’s plan will egregiously exceed the existing “by-right” zoning limitations.   Our coalition is not at all opposed to re-development of the property or enhancing development on SK in general.  We strongly favor economic growth on Siesta Key, but not at the cost of so many adverse consequences, or if it involves revising and circumventing existing protective policies, regulations, and codes.   We are also monitoring, and are concerned about, two other hotel proposals in the Stickney Point Area and on Ocean Boulevard, to the extent that they attempt similar amendments and exceptions.

Background

Our barrier island is a unique economic and destination asset for Siesta County, and has the #1 rated beach in the country.   Siesta Key generates more tax revenue than it uses in services.   There are already many short-stay hospitality and condo options available on Siesta Key.

The hotel developers plan to seek multiple amendments and exceptions to 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 the building height, control building density and setbacks, and discourage this kind of intense development.    Some of these proposed changes are county-wide, and will set a dangerous precedent for the other 40+ similarly-zoned properties on Siesta Key.   We hope that the County Board of Commissioners will deny the developers the exceptions and precedent-setting amendments they seek, and will vote to preserve Siesta Key as a unique destination, very different from the many over-developed coastal communities in Florida.

How You Can Help NOW

The current focus of the Coalition is to expand the base of support for our group, on Siesta Key and throughout Sarasota County; to develop new talking points; and to prepare to engage in the public review and approval process in the weeks ahead.  If you live in a neighborhood or condominium, please connect us with your Association representative(s) to discuss joining us.  Email us at SKCoalition@gmail.com  Several new owner groups have joined the Coalition, including the Siesta Isles Association and the Terrace East Condominium.  Read November SK Coalition E-blast.

Recent Media Coverage

Sarasota News Leader, November 13, Rachel brown Hackney Siesta SeenCondo Council members strongly opposed to hotel plans

Herald-Tribune, October 20, Editorial Board:  Protect the Charm of Siesta Key

Sarasota Observer, October 22, Brynn Mechem:  Residents worry hotel proposals will change Siesta

SNN News, October 16, SNN NewsroomHigh Rise Hotels Possibly Headed for siesta Key

Herald-Tribune, October 15, Timothy FanningHigh-rise hotel proposals would ‘open the floodgates’ on Siesta Key, opponent says 

Siesta Sand, October 3, Rachel Brown Hackney: Siesta Key Coalition organizing in opposition to 170-room hotel project

What Has SK Coalition Done So Far?

In recent weeks there has been growing opposition to the proposed hotel at the south end of Siesta Village.   A small group of owners in the area initiated a dialog to oppose the project, and from that core group a formidable coalition has emerged.   In the last few weeks there have been several significant events, that are listed below.   The coalition will publish further reports, by e-mail as new events happen, and will refresh the coalition web page periodically (see the last bullet below for the link).

 The group opposing the proposed hotel has formally adopted the title of “The SK Coalition”.

  • The organizations involved include approximately a dozen Homeowner Associations(HOAs), the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and the Siesta Key Condominium Council (SKCC).
  • These organizations represent approximately 8500 residences on Siesta Key.
  • The core leadership of the SK Coalition have all had direct presentations to their respective HOA Board members by  the hotel developer representative, Robert Anderson in prior months, following their Pre-Development Application with Sarasota County Planning.   The coalition’s opposition is based on those presentations.
  • All members of the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners were provided a summary of coalition concerns, and  two of the Commissioners were briefed in separate video conferences.   It is important to note that the SK Coalition was careful to honor the guidelines from the Commission, and did not request or seek any feedback or responses from any of the Commissioners.
  • Rachel Brown Hackney posted a substantial online article in the The Sarasota News Leader on the Coalition’s grass-roots opposition, called “Fearing a future Siesta Key with overwhelming density and diminished local flavor, SK Coalition forms to fight proposed 170-room hotel project” on September 17, 2020.
  • SK Coalition released its first Press Release (a copy is on the  web page – link below) on September 29th.
  • A comprehensive article on our SK Coalition perspective was also published on the front page of the October 2020 edition of The Siesta Sand newspaper by Rachel Brown Hackney, “Siesta Key Coalition formed to oppose new hotel project in village”
  • Brynn Mechem, referenced the SK Coalition’s growing opposition in an article in the Sarasota Observer, October 1st Edition of the Sarasota Observer,  “Siesta hotel developers ask for density changes”·
  • The SK Coalition spoke at the SKA October 1st monthly membership meeting.  Click here to view 20-minute live presentation. 

How Can I Help SK Coalition?

  • “We are a growing grass-roots volunteer effort opposing the proposed 170-unit, 8-story Siesta Key hotel between Beach Road and Calle Miramar near SK Village and Beach Access #5. We need your voice.  Here are some ways to help.  First, for those who email us at SKCoalition@gmail.com, we will respond to questions and add your email to our to contacts for regular communication.
  • One important way to help, if you are part of a Siesta Key residential neighborhood, condominium community, or a community organization, please speak with your neighbors and connect us with your Board or HOA leadership. The Coalition’s ability to influence events will be greatly enhanced if the majority of the Associations on the Key would lend their support, in the form of a letter to the Chair, Mark Spiegel at SKCoaliton@gmail.com.   Here is an example of such a letter from Siesta Isles Association . We would appreciate the opportunity to provide information on this hotel development and the perspective of the SK Coalition to other HOAs and organization Boards.

We plan soon to create a list of participating members of the SK Coalition that share our concerns, objectives and love of Siesta Key’s character.  As the public process unfolds we will then proceed with a professional, well-organized and well-coordinated voice.  Not as individualized neighbors with narrow self-interests, but as a group that supports economic growth and development that is consistent with character of SK and compliant with the protections against too much “density and intensity” provided by the Siesta Key Overlay District, the Future Land Use Plan for the Barrier Islands, and existing development codes.”

If you wish to share your views, stay informed, or express your interest in supporting our objectives, please email us at SKCoalition@gmail.com.

Who Are We?

The SK Coalition came together in June 2020 when several Home Owner Association (HOA) leaders and opposing residential community representatives reached out to each other in response to  presentations on the proposed hotel plan given to them by the hotel development group’s representative and review of the developer’s Pre-Development Application with Sarasota County Planning.  We are growing in numbers, now up to 10 residential and community organizations, through our grass-roots efforts as we find many with similar deep concerns about the proposed hotel.  We found common ground and shared beliefs and concerns with the Siesta Key Association and the Siesta Key Condominium Council.  The latter of which is conducting a survey of its membership and already up to 246 members (100% of the respondents) expressing opposition to the planned hotel.

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 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 invasiveness. 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 developer 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.).

What’s Next?

We will be providing periodic updates on this “SK Coalition” page as we engage proactively in the public process regarding the proposed 170-unit, 8-story Siesta Key hotel between Beach Road and Calle Miramar near SK Village and Beach Access #5.
Thank you for your support of our efforts!

Background

SK Coalition Press Release, September 29, 2020

For those  subscribed to the Sarasota News Leader,  read “Fearing a future Siesta Key with overwhelming density and diminished “local’ flavor, SK Coalition forms to fight proposed 170-room hotel project ,” an article by Rachel Brown Hackney in the September 18th edition.

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**SKA is not responsible for the content of this page; content provided by SK Coalition.**