Letters to the editor
Adrian Moore column misses the point
As a resident of Siesta Key, I believe Adrian Moore missed the point on a recent commentary.
The first paragraph asks, “Should Sarasota County be able to make changes to rights of way, parks, beaches and beach access?” The answer is no, and this is based on the county’s past decisions, where it has continually vacated beach access to developers.
At the time county commissioners voted to vacate Beach Road, our comprehensive plan, which is the law, succinctly stated, “The County shall not vacate any waterfront road segments ...” This law was totally ignored in the past and again in May 2016 when a portion of Beach Road was vacated. Forty-one days later the county changed our comprehensive plan from “shall not” to “should not.” “Shall not” is unequivocal, succinct, definitive and is not open to interpretation. “Should not” will always be open to interpretation.
The county had no right to terminate the public’s ownership of this road. In addition, the county never owned Beach Road, but rather was given an easement “for thoroughfare purposes only, reserving all other rights.”
Additionally, Beach Road, both at Access 2 and Access 3, were in continuous use by vehicles until the bollards went up at Access 3.
Several years prior to the vacation, the county spent our tax dollars to hire Taylor Engineering to come up with “a permanent fix to Beach Road.” This was an in-depth study and provided four options. One was beach nourishment. Two others involved restoring the road by raising it and providing either a wall or revetment. The final option, which they stated was clearly the most expensive and not logical, was to “do nothing.”
Currently, the three property owners that benefited from the road giveaway claim their beaches will always be open to the public, as they have been since the 1920s. However, we all know what happens after ownership is secured.
The formula to make it a private beach is to make complaints to the Sheriff’s Office, whether real or engineered. After a few complaints any easements given back to the county disappear.
If the county refuses to act, then this $9.2 million piece of property, as accessed by the County Property Appraiser’s Office, will become private property, as will these neighborhood beaches.
You state in your photograph that this section of Beach Road is clearly marked “Public Access”. Did you not walk a bit farther down this “closed” section of Beach Road and see the sign “Private Beach?”
Beach Road is a jewel to Siesta Key as it is the only road, once fixed, where you can actually view the water from your car.
The wording in the petitions Mike Consentino put forth were approved by the county attorney prior to printing. He is simply trying to reinstate our laws as they were in May 2016 and wants to ensure no more public lands are simply given away.
There is nothing in this road vacation that benefits the citizenry. Please use due diligence in gathering information before writing another commentary for public issue.