Does this Siesta homeowner have the right to block off the beach?

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Its a battle over the beach!

A Siesta Key homeowner has cordoned off some beachfront property behind her house. But some neighbors feel she’s encroaching on public land!

If you want to escape the crowds of Siesta Beach, there’s a lovely little paradise at the end of Shell Road nearby.

“Its such a nice, smaller beach. Easier to access,” said Siesta resident Jim Skinner.

Recently, its gotten even smaller. A homeowner has used ropes to cordon off the beach behind her house. Rocks mark the boundaries, cameras are always watching, and neighbors say she’s even used sprinklers to discourage loitering.

“The public owns the coastline, all over Florida!” said resident Barbara Stephens. “I want them to take these signs down, take these ropes down.”

“It’s a wonderful gift that is given to the people in the state that we should have access to,” said Skinner.

8 On Your Side tried to speak to the homeowner but she was not available. So we found someone who knows her.

“They began to feel harassed, they couldn’t use their own property…she was very fearful,” said Catherine Luckner with the Siesta Key Association.

Luckner says this homeowner has had it with criminals and drug users behind her home. So she did what she was legally allowed to do.

You see, only a small part of this beach is public, the rest is private property.

“It’s a very small area. People like to come down there and just gaze across the water, its beautiful, but its not the public beach we all think of for Siesta Beach at all,” explained Luckner.

Also under Florida’s wet-sand dry-sand law, homeowners control the sand above the mean high-tide level.

Luckner encourages beachgoers to be familiar with Florida laws.

“Its really got them pretty upset, not only are they not safe at the beach, they’re not safe at home,” said Luckner.

Luckner tells 8 On Your Side the homeowner wanted to put a more permanent barrier up, but she wasn’t allowed to under Florida law.

But the neighbors are not deterred; they are starting a petition to request the county to take the ropes down.

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