The Siesta Key Association ended its reluctance to officially weigh in the Big Pass dredging debate Thursday, approving a statement that expressed official opposition to a proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to mine Big Pass for Lido Beach sand.
The move follows months of stalling by the Army Corps to provide data to conclusively support its claims that the dredge would not negatively impact Siesta Key beaches.
SKA Board Member Peter van Roekens, who has been the group's most active voice in pressing the Army Corps for more date on the proposed dredge, made a motion at the end of Thursday's monthly SKA meeting for the board to draft and release a statement officially opposing the project.
The statement, which underwent modification before final approval, read: "Based on the data currently available to us, we would not support any form of dredging in Sarasota Big Pass channel and shoal."
The statement did not, however, mention the three proposed erosion control jetties, known as groins, which are included in the dredging project's plans. The groins have been a longstanding flashpoint for opposition to the project.
Read more in this week's issue of the Sarasota Observer.
Also discussed at Thursday's meeting:
- A representative of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office reported on Siesta Key crime trends, pointing to a spree of bike thefts as the most pressing issue.
- SKA Board member Ron Flynn gave a presentation on trends in the Siesta Key real estate market and demographics. Some key information included the island's high median home value compared with the rest of Sarasota County — the media home value for Siesta homes is $503,000, more than three times the $166,000 countywide average.
- Luckner updated the board and the residents in attendance about a recent incident at Siesta Beach in which an unknown party used a bulldozer to clear an outlet from a tidal pool into the Gulf of Mexico, draining the pool, which had become a seabird feeding area. Luckner urged Siesta residents to be on the lookout for anyone making unauthorized modifications to the beach.
The next Siesta Key Association meeting meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., Feb. 6, at St. Boniface Church, 5615 Midnight Pass, Siesta Key.
Residents can call 364-4880 for more information.
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