The grassroots organization now represents 40 homeowner and condo associations.
When developers submitted plans for hotels on Siesta Key, a grass-roots organization formed and hasn’t stopped growing since.
The Siesta Key Coalition, the largest group of opponents to the development proposals, now comprises more than 40 home- owner and condominium associations consisting of nearly 4,000 households.
Since forming, the coalition hired a land-use attorney and also holds a 501(c)4 not-for-profit status, meaning it operates exclusively to promote social welfare.
Members of the coalition joined forces to oppose three projects that seek to changes to the county’s future land use policy pertaining to height, density and transient use on the barrier island.
The projects are:
- A proposal by 1-800-ASK- GARY founder Gary Kompothecras to build a seven-story, 120-room hotel and a five-story parking garage along Old Stickney Point Road and Peacock Road;
- Siesta Key Beach Resort and Suites owner Mike Holderness’ proposal to increase his property from 55 to 170 rooms; and
- Robert Anderson’s proposal for a seven-story, 170-room hotel off Calle Miramar. Plans also call for a restaurant, bar and 223-space parking garage.
County commissioners in January advanced the proposals in the approval process to allow county staff time to review the projects.
“I want to be very clear. This is a vote just to move forward with the process to consider these options or proposals,” Commissioner Christian Ziegler said at the time. “This is not a vote on the final projects.”
Coalition President Mark Spiegel said the group is not anti- development, but rather seeks developments that comply with existing zoning regulations in the Siesta Key Overlay District.
“We are not anti-hotel or anti- redevelopment on the Key,” Spiegel said during a Siesta Key Condominium Council meeting. “We just want it to be smart growth.”
Residents fear that, if approved, the hotels would bring an unwanted transient nature to Siesta Key and exacerbate traffic. They also say the project could set a precedent for future projects.
Two of the three developers are requesting revisions to the county’s long-range growth map, which would allow them to build outside current regulations.
Those interested in learning more about the coalition or donating can visit its website SKCoalition.org.
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