Siesta Key hotel projects move to Sarasota County planning board

Red-lettered signs sprout all along Higel Avenue, just after crossing Siesta Key’s north bridge, exclaiming “Stop High Density Hotels.”

The signs dotting Sarasota’s premier tourist attraction are a direct response to explosive proposals by four developers to build the barrier island’s first hotel developments in more than five decades.

There’s little debate over whether the key could use more accommodations for visitors, but the size and scope of the proposed developments are hotly contested topics for Siesta Key residents, prompting considerable backlash.

The reaction has led to the creation of citizens groups fighting the new hotel projects.

Even more telling: the birth of a movement intended to form Siesta Key’s own government to handle land-use issues, as many residents feel ignored or disregarded by Sarasota County.