Siesta Key Community News
We won in Circuit Court
Second WIN for Siesta Key!!!
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Donation to support Siesta's Legal Defense
Lourdes Ramirez filed two legal challenges against Sarasota County for violating our growth laws: at DOAH and Circuit Court.
We are fundraising for the legal defense. Your support is critical to her success! Please use the link below and contribute to our cause!
Siesta Key Community is a 10 year old organization helping to raise funds for the Legal Defense of Siesta Key. Your donation through the PayPal/credit card processing will be handled by Siesta Key Community Inc.
Or mail a check to:
Siesta Key Community Legal Defense Fund
PO Box 35231
Siesta Key, FL 34242
Contributions are not tax deductible
All proceeds go towards the legal defense fund.
No group, association, or organizations has donated towards this lawsuit. Some donors mistakenly sent donations to defend Siesta Key to other local groups believing it is being forwarded to our efforts. Please be sure to send your check to the address listed above. Thanks!
If you prefer to mail your check directly to the lawyers, Send your check to:
Martha M. Collins, P.A. Iolta Trust Account
c/o Collins Law Group
777 South Harbour Island Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33602
Note: Please be sure to put 'Siesta Key hotel lawsuit' on the memo line of your check.
Local Toast Victory flyer (PDF)
Legal Challenge 1
at State DOAH
on Zoning Ordinance
On April 3rd, 2023, a Florida Dept. of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) Judge ruled that Sarasota County's 2021 Zoning Code change (regarding mega-hotels) is not in compliance with our growth laws known as the Comprehensive Plan.
Background: In October 2021, the Sarasota County Commission changed the Zoning Code to eliminate maximum density requirements for hotels.
In the past, hotels were listed in the Zoning Code as a residential use with a maximum density of 26 units per acre as long as the units did not have a kitchen. If the hotel units had kitchens the maximum density allowed was 13 units per acre.
State laws require that the Zoning Code must be in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan laws. And since 1989 (link to 1989 Comp Plan), the Barrier Islands of unincorporated Sarasota County had Comprehensive Plan policies that prohibited increases in density or intensity of use.
When the County Commissioners approved a zoning code change in 2021 that removed the density requirements for hotels they created a conflict where the Zoning Code did not follow our Comprehensive Plan which stated the Barrier Islands had maximum density requirements.
Lourdes Ramirez filed a legal challenge in DOAH court stating the 2021 Zoning Code change was not in compliance with our Comprehensive Plan and as such the County must be precluded from using the revised code to approve mega-sized hotels.
The Judge agreed the County violated three (3) policies of our Comprehensive Plan (see below).
Sarasota County or the Intervenors (developers) plan to appeal this decision.
Legal Challenge 2
in Circuit Court
on approved hotel
After Sarasota County Commissioners approved a change to the Zoning Code to remove maximum density requirements for hotels, they then used that new zoning code change to approve three mega-sized hotels for Siesta Key.
According to State law, to challenge a development approval (known as a development order), citizens must file a lawsuit in Circuit Court.
Lourdes Ramirez filed a lawsuit in November 2021.
The lawsuit has similar claims as the legal challenge in State DOAH court with a slight difference. While the legal challenge at DOAH is about the zoning code change, the legal challenge in Circuit Court is focused the approved hotel itself specifically on the approved mega-hotel on Calle Miramar on Siesta Key.
According to Lourdes' lawsuit in Circuit Court, the approved hotel is not in compliance with our Comprehensive Plan which limited the density and intensity on the Barrier Islands to what existed in 1989. That maximum density limit in 1989 was limited to 26 units per acre for hotels. In October 2021, the County Commissioners approved a hotel on Calle MiraMar on Siesta Key with 170 hotel units on a parcel less than one acre in size.
Lourdes Ramirez claims that the approved hotel is a clear violation of our Comprehensive Plan.
Lourdes filed a Motion for Summary Judgement in January 2023. We received a favorable judgment on August 21, 2023
The Siesta Key Community is a corporation created to advocate for the protection of Siesta Key's environment and neighborhoods. We will provide information and news about Siesta Key for residents and visitors. Our focus is on the issues important for the protection of our island. We appreciate our residents and visitors who love our island that have supported our efforts.
A message from our president,
From the moment I stepped on to
Siesta Key's wonderfully soft sand 22 years ago, I knew I had to work to protect it's beauty.
Since moving here, I've been actively involved in civic organizations and in politics.
It has been my pleasure devoting time to ensure our Siesta Key community continues to be the best place to live and to spend quality time. I've been so passionate in protecting our way of life that I've spent my personal finances in legal fights against Sarasota County on issues regarding density, illegal rentals and other detrimental government actions.
I will continue to keep our community informed on ongoing issues.
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