Our next Mega-Hotel fight!
We must protect Siesta Key residents and visitors
Last April, the Florida Dept. of Administrative Hearings Judge ruled the County's 2021 change to the zoning code is not compliant with the Comprehensive Plan policy (2.9.1) which prohibits increases in density and intensity of development on Siesta Key (Link to DOAH decision). In August 2023, a Sarasota County Circuit Court Judge ruled the County's approval of a mega-sized hotel violates the Comprehensive Plan policy 2.9.1 (Link to Circuit Court decision)
Now that we won the legal challenges, three hotel developers have proposed changes to our protective policies of our Comprehensive Plan. These changes will cause a dangerous precedent by allowing developers to propose mega-size hotels that circumvent the laws that protect the lives of residents and visitors of Siesta Key.
How does the Comp Plan amendment process work? The following are the general steps to this process:
Staff asks the County Commission for permission to start the out-of-cycle Comprehensive Plan Amendment process. The Commissioners can agree to let all three mega-hotel proposals go forward or perhaps pick one. This is expected to occur on Nov. 28th.
Staff asks the mega-hotel developer(s) to file formal application(s) with all details required to process a Comp Plan Amendment.
Different county departments such as Transportation will review the application and provide comments. The developer needs to address any concerns that may arise.
The developer must hold a public workshop.
If all departments and agencies are satisfied, the application goes to the Planning Commission.
After Planning Commission votes on it, the Board of County Commission will hold a public hearing.
This process will take a few months. As per our County Charter, Comp Plan amendments that affect density and intensity require a supermajority (4 out of 5) votes of the County Commission.
If approved by the County Commission, the Comp Plan amendment must be sent to the State for review, comment, and approval. The final step is a second vote of the County Commission. If the Comp Plan amendment is approved the second time, the only option is to challenge it at the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings court.
The fight against mega-hotels on Siesta Key is a grass-roots battle fought and funded by citizens. Siesta Key Community's founder Ms. Lourdes Ramirez won two important legal challenges in 2023. These successful lawsuits prove that the zoning codes established in 1989 should not be changed or re-interpreted to approve high-density development on our barrier island. Please join us in protecting the quality of life, safety, and the precious environment of Siesta Key.
To pay by check or to pay Lawyers directly, see below (Link to other forms of payment)
Please note - Contributions to the Siesta Key Legal Defense Fund are not tax deductible
2024 Mega-Hotel proposals and Hotel Developers
Benderson Development background:
Dave Balot background:
Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
Siesta Key Chamber background: