Residents pushing to stop major housing development in Old Miakka

Old Miakka residents trying to stop a major housing development from happening.
Old Miakka residents trying to stop a major housing development from happening.(WWSB)
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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OLD MIAKKA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota County Commissioners group voted unanimously for a land use change that would allow 5000 homes on more than 4000 acres in the eastern part of Sarasota County.

Residents who live in the area are strongly opposed to the change.

“This is about the intrusion of urban sprawl into a 172-year-old community,” said Becky Ayech, President of the Miakka Community Club.

Ayech and other Old Miakka residents coming together to try and stop this massive housing development from happening in their neck of the woods along Fruitville Road.

“We were promised there would never be any urban development east of I-75, look at it now,” said Ayech. “We were promised there wouldn’t be any development east of Lorraine road, look what they’ve done. Now they’re saying we’re not going to hold that line for you.”

Sarasota County Commissioners say the thousands of acres is the ideal spot to build homes, especially because there are so many people moving to the area and they need a place to live.

“I respect and I appreciate the people in Old Miakka and I think we do need to have some protections in place for them,” said Christian Ziegler, a Sarasota County Commissioner. “But Sarasota County is in high demand, we need affordable housing, we need more units in that area.”

Residents say they want to keep the country, “country” and that decision makers are not looking out for the best interest of residents.

“What they are saying is we don’t care about you, the way you live doesn’t count,” said Ayech. “It’s not important in this county, we’re going to push further out, so I’d say people are very upset.”

Traffic and not having the infrastructure are the biggest concerns. Residents say that includes not having any stores or schools built close by. Commissioners say this developer does have an outstanding reputation.

“When we do these developments, we do have to keep an eye on the stuff they are concerned about,” said Ziegler. “I think Lakewood Ranch SMR Waterside, they do an outstanding job of making sure they have big open space, really incorporating the environment into their design and having a good quality of life there.”

Residents say there’s still hope they can stop this development.

“Now the state, it’s their turn to look at those facts,” said Ayech. “And actually come back to the county to say no you need to change things.”

This is now in the state’s hands. If this gets approval from the state, it would then go back to the Sarasota County Commission for a final vote in late October.