Casey Key, bordered on the east by Sarasota Bay and on the west by the Gulf of Mexico, is a narrow, 8-mile-long barrier island located in Sarasota County near the town of Nokomis and approximately 15 miles south of the City of Sarasota. Casey Key Road was at one time a state road but is now maintained by Sarasota County. The county-maintained portion begins south of 1010 N. Casey Key Road and is the only means for Casey Key residents to enter or exit the island. The county maintains Casey Key Road to one foot on either side of the paved road. All property outside of the county-maintained limits is privately owned.
The repairs described above are short-term. In December 2018, and in response to public feedback, the county commission directed staff to construct a rock revetment to ensure long-term dependable roadway access to properties along the north and middle sections of Casey Key. The estimated total project cost for both locations is approximately $8.5 million.
Damage from erosion along the road has occurred largely to private property, which is subject to state and federal permitting requirements. Easements would be required by each property owner to allow construction of new coastal protection measures by the county. State statutes strictly limit under what circumstances local governments can repair and maintain county owned public property as opposed to private property.
In 1988, the Sarasota County Commission adopted Ordinance No. 88-75 establishing the North Casey Key Special Tax District (which includes every property between 615 Casey Key Road and 1600 North Casey Key Road). The ordinance also established a Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU), with a five-year assessment from 1991 to 1996 to fund two revetments and other devices to correct coastal storm and water damage. The MSTU contributed 50% of the funding for backfill, construction of revetments, riprap and shore protection devices along Casey Key Road. The other 50% was funded by Sarasota County.
In addition to the initial revetment project, the ordinance acknowledges the intent and applicability of its use for future repairs or construction of shoreline protection structures along Casey Key Road.
Two options are proposed for the MSTU to fund 50% of the currently proposed project:
- An estimated five-year payback period with a millage of 1.1100, during which a property owner would pay $93 per month per million of taxable property value.
- An estimated 10-year payback period with millage of 0.6022, during which a property owner would pay $50 per month per million of taxable property value.
Both figures are based on projected tax values for 2019 and include debt service and collection fees.
Due to its unique position between the Gulf and Bay, the road has experienced periodic flooding and damage from heavy surf and erosion caused by strong weather events.
The county resurfaced Casey Key Road in 1992 and again in 2019. In the 1990s, the county constructed a step revetment to protect the north end of Casey Key. Since that time, there have been continual episodes of shoreline erosion of private property along Casey Key with significant erosion at the northern step revetment and areas near 2120 Casey Key Road. This erosion has resulted in major threats to the stability of Casey Key Road at these locations.
In June 2017, workers discovered that erosion had created a large void under the stepped revetment in the 500 block of North Casey Key Road. Repairs entailed adding nearly 200 cubic yards of low-grade concrete to fill and stabilize the void. Despite the work, the road continues to destabilize due to erosion under the revetment.
Following shoreline impacts of winter storm systems and Hurricane Irma, the county installed 200 linear feet of large "trap bag" sandbags along 2120 Casey Key Road in May 2018 and May 2019 to protect the shoreline, road and adjacent utilities.