The Siesta Key Association surveyed its members to find out what residents think about the biggest issues facing the island.
A recent survey of members of the Siesta Key Association gave members a chance to show their support or opposition to the association’s stances on select Siesta hot topics.
Of the association’s approximately 2,000 members, 534 responded to the survey, according to SKA President Harold Ashby.
Among those who responded, the issue that received the most unified feedback was Benderson Development’s proposed Siesta Promenade project. The survey asked if members were in favor of SKA’s push for no increase in density or intensity and opposition to any plan that would exacerbate traffic congestion.
Residents have long been concerned about the proposed mixed-use development at the northwest corner of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41, where the developer hopes to put retailers, residential homes and hotels.
Of the 529 responses to that question, 93% were in favor of SKA continuing its pushback against the development.
In fact, SKA members who responded to the survey were in favor of every question posed on it. Here’s a look at the other issues:
- Big Pass — 89% of respondents are in favor of taking legal actions to stop the permitting process for dredging Big Pass. The association has already filed two challenges against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Sarasota’s plans to renourish Lido Key with sand from Big Pass. This legal battle is ongoing.
- Potential Hotel Proposal — 90% of respondents oppose any increase in intensity or density over what is currently allowed in the county’s comprehensive plan. 1-800-ASK-GARY founder Gary Kompothecras has been aiming to change existing regulations to build a hotel on Siesta Key. Recently, his attorney went before the Board of Zoning Appeals to ask that an interpretation issued by a county employee be overturned, essentially permitting tall buildings to be built close to the sidewalk. The board voted not to overturn the interpretation.
- South Siesta Key Parking Lot — 88% of respondents are in favor of the SKA’s support for developing a parking lot on a county-owned Midnight Pass Road property south of Stickney Point Road. The exact address is 6647 Midnight Pass Road. County Commissioner Al Maio said he hopes the project will be underway by the beginning of 2018, but it’s still an “incremental and sequential process.”
- Bicycle Safety Initiative — 81.5% of respondents are in favor of SKA’s Bicycle Safety Initiative, including gaining Bicycle Friendly Community Status for Siesta Key.
- Beach Road Vacation — 60% of respondents support SKA’s decision to take no further action following the County Commission’s decision to vacate a portion of Beach Road. When the County Commission originally vacated its ownership of the land in 2016, they ceded it to three neighboring property owners, who in turn agreed to keep it open for pedestrian access. However, some residents were not satisfied with that decision.
- County Charter Amendment Petitions — 45.5% of respondents are in favor of SKA’s decision to take no position regarding the two petitions circulating in the community about the Beach Road access. One would overturn the Beach Road vacation, and another would prohibit similar things from happening in the future. Twenty-three percent were not in favor of that decision, and 31.5% of respondents said they were “neutral.”
However, 62% of respondents were in favor of a presentation at a future SKA meeting about the county charter amendments petitions, which the Reopen Beach Road campaign is advocating for. Ashby said if the petitions are successful and those matters are allowed on the ballots, SKA will probably take a position. At this time, though, he said they won’t “encourage or discourage our members from signing them.”