Debate heating up over beach parking on Shell Road on Siesta Key

Siesta Key's Shell Road parking debate

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota resident Lisa Grande visits the beach at Shell Road on Siesta Key at least once a week. She’s been hearing lots of discussion that parking could go away here in the near future.

“I think it’s a public road and it should stay a public road despite the fact that they built their homes here, everybody should have access to the ocean,” said Grande.

People who live here say they are concerned for their safety and have experienced many problems for a long time now with the parking and the type of activity that has been occurring on and around the beach.

None of the neighbors we talked with would come on camera for fear of retaliation but they tell us there have been issues with vandalism, lewd behavior including going to the bathroom on their property, as shown by this video, drug activity, bottleneck traffic where residents can’t maneuver on their street, including having their driveways blocked with vehicles, and lots of trash left on the beach and in their neighborhood.

John Sawyer lives near Shell Road. He says this could cause dangers for beachgoers.

“My personal perspective is if they take the parking that people will have to walk here or bike here from all the rental properties across the street and it’s hectic out there on Higel,” said Sawyer.

Residents in this neighborhood say they would like to see this beach become family-friendly once again and would like to see some kind of resolution whether it’s eliminating parking or another solution.

A meeting was held on this last week and Sarasota County says commissioners can’t vote on this until the Traffic Advisory Council votes on the issue. That council will be talking all about this issue on Monday, September 9th at 2pm. That meeting will take place in the Sarasota County Commission chambers.

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