Siesta Key homeowners limiting beach access sparking debate
SIESTA KEY- Despite the backlash the barricade of boulders, stakes, and no trespassing signs have caused, the president of the Siesta Key Association of Sarasota says the residents are within their rights to keep their boundaries up.
The slice of paradise at the end of Shell Road is now the source of debate between private and public property lines.
President of the Siesta Key Association of Sarasota Catherine Luckner says the residents who put up these boundary lines have witnessed criminal activity and have reason for their limitations.
“Because there is a lawless, permissive attitude about being able to use this area, it invites more of the same, when people don’t have eyes on it. I think that's what she’s been dealing with, a lot of fear," said Luckner. "This is a very hidden area and many people come here at dark at 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. and there’s video surveillance going on, so we know what they’re doing and it’s not a good thing."
A statement from Sarasota County states: "Private property owners can block access to their property but not to public beach accesses or properties.”
Former Florida governor and now U.S Senator Rick Scott signed a law into effect in July of 2018, making it harder for local governments to establish public access on private properties.
However, the Florida Constitution protects public access to any beach seaward of the mean high-tide line.
“Where you see the stakes are an actual boundary line of the mean high water line," said Luckner. "Anyone can walk along what’s available below that and I see stuff opening up right now. People are welcome here; they’re also welcome to be good neighbors. I think if everybody could deescalate and enjoy what is here and allow the people to enjoy a home they feel they’ve not been able to feel safe in, I would say it would work well.”
This is a developing story and we will keep you updated with the latest information as it becomes available.