Gulf of Mexico
Wiki Commons / Just under 8,000 residents live in the portion of the Sarasota County barrier island proposed for incorporation.

FL - Siesta Key residents explore options to break away from Sarasota County

Hundreds of Siesta Key residents attended a recent town hall meeting, hosted by the local delegation, to discuss the incorporation of the island. Islanders want more control over development.

A grassroots effort to incorporate Siesta Key is underway.

Some residents want to make the barrier island a municipality so they can gain control over land development.

Members of the group, Save Siesta Key have been working for most of the year on plans to form a local government. Among other issues, the group says they are concerned with how quickly Sarasota County is signing off on development projects.

Several large hotels have been proposed for the key this year and two of those projects have been approved by the Sarasota County Commission.

Tracy Jackson, Vice Chair of Save Siesta Key, says residents feel they don’t have a voice in decisions that will impact their quality of life.

"What are we going to do to take control over the decisions that are consistently affecting us,” she said. "Because what we're doing as far as organizing and going to the commission meetings and saying how we feel is simply not working."

Jackson also says expanding growth on the two and a half square-mile island affects all residents of Sarasota County.

"A lot of people move to Sarasota because of Siesta Key,” she said. “And their access to local beaches is hampered by the increased traffic and over development will affect them as well."

Advocates of local control have an uphill climb.

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