Sep 20, 2022 - News

Rules reinterpretation clears way for new Siesta Key hotels

people on the beach at siesta key
Crescent Beach, Siesta Key. Photo: Bernard Friel/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you love that mom-and-pop feel of sleepy Siesta Key, where the biggest hotel was built in the 1950s and has just 55 rooms, enjoy it while it lasts.

Driving the news: Two big high-rise hotels have been approved for Siesta Key after Sarasota County planning department employees reinterpreted regulations that have stunted such development since 1989.

  • They changed their minds after meeting with developers, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Flashback: Dense high-rise development has been banned on Siesta Key since the county passed its comprehensive plan which limited density and intensity to what was "allowed by zoning ordinances and regulations existing as of March 13, 1989."

Yes, but: County planners are now saying that removing the residential density cap did not violate the growth plan because hotels are not residential, and therefore not subject to the limits.

  • That gave Sarasota County commissioners leeway to greenlight two projects: a 170-room hotel and a 120-room hotel.

The latest: A citizen and two condo associations have separately filed lawsuits against the project.

  • The trials are scheduled for March and June.
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