SARASOTA (WWSB) -Sarasota County Commission has approved the Siesta Promenade project.
This comes after commissioners spent the entire day Wednesday listening to public comments on the large proposed development. Siesta Promenade will be built on the vacant lot at U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road in South Sarasota and will include apartments, retail space, and a hotel.
The public hearing had a lot of community engagement. Roughly 100 people from the community stood before commissioners and voiced their opinion.
"It's too dense and too intense," Sarasota County resident Ben Cannon said.
Wednesday's public hearing showed both pros and cons of the proposed project.
Benderson Development Company wants to develop more than 400 apartments, a 130 room hotel, and retail shops.
Some are concerned about how traffic would be impacted, especially for those who live in the neighborhood along the road and fear traffic would use their development to cut through.
"We now have technology that steers people to short cuts. I mean you have phone apps that say make a right here and cut through this neighborhood and come out over on Stickney Point," said Sarasota County Commission Chair, Nancy Detert.
Benderson Development Company representatives said traffic will actually improve from the project, but some community members don't buy that.
"I find it hard to believe that it's going to be the numbers that they mentioned, that it's going to be less traffic. And I hope you consider the pedestrians, the elderly drivers, and people who want to live here," said Sarasota County resident, Kathryn Johnson.
Other push back came from the affordable housing component, which the developers are proposing 15% of the apartments would be and they would remain affordable for five years.
"Limiting affordable to five years is an insult to those residents who need affordable housing because it's a bait and switch. You can live here, but don't get comfortable. Don't expect your kids to finish school here because in five years you have to move unless you win the lottery," said Sarasota County resident Judy Rabkin.
And while some community members fought against this development, others voiced their approval of it. Saying that it would enhance that area.
“I believe Sarasota is a better place to live today than it ever has been and development projects are one of the things that made it that way,” Sarasota County resident Josh Helmuth said.