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Politics / Issues

Legislators decline to support Siesta Key's effort to become its own town

 Siesta Key Beach in October of 2019. Jessica Meszaros/WUSF
Jessica Meszaros
/
WUSF Public Media
Several large hotels have been proposed for the key this year and two of those projects have been approved by the Sarasota County Commission.

The incorporation bill first needed support from the local delegation to advance to the full Legislature where Governor Ron DeSantis would have to authorize a vote.

An initiative to incorporate Siesta Key failed to clear a major hurdle this week when the local legislative delegation declined to support it.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that five state representatives and a state senator held a public hearing this week where nearly 90 people spoke in favor of allowing the barrier island residents to vote on whether to form a town.

Members of the group Save Siesta Key had been working for about a year on the initiative. 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.

Residents feel they don’t have a voice in decisions that will impact their quality of life, Tracy Jackson, vice chair of Save Siesta Key, told WUSF in December.

"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."

The incorporation bill first needed support from the local delegation to advance to the full Legislature where Gov. Ron DeSantis would have to authorize a vote.

But the six legislators were deadlocked in a 3-3 vote and failed to advance the bill.

The Herald-Tribune reports that Rep. Fiona McFarland, Rep. Rep. Michele Rayner and Sen. Joe Gruters voted in favor of the bill while State Reps. Will Robinson, Tommy Gregory and James Buchanan voted against it.

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