INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — The road to talk at a Nov. 15 assembly on short-term leases stretched from the entrance of the Metropolis Corridor auditorium to the again and out the door, as tons of confirmed as much as vent on the hot-button topic.
Throughout the lead-up to the assembly, members of a grassroots group against the explosion of trip leases within the metropolis repeatedly urged metropolis leaders to handle the “most cancers of their group” and curb issues related to “transient housing,” citing noise, trash and parking points.
However many who got here out spoke in protection of trip leases. A number of urged for an finish to the name-calling and for a cooperative effort to work collectively and discover options.
“I personal a short-term rental and I do not need the unhealthy parts there both,” Steve Van Leeuwen stated early within the 3 1/2-hour assembly. “However I need to defend us. We make for a simple goal.”
Van Leeuwen stated the business helps the barrier island’s economic system.
“Folks do not perceive what short-term leases do for the group,” he stated.
Van Leeuwen added that 6% of the reserving charges go to town “proper off the highest” and famous most guests store and eat regionally.
“And I take subject with the identify ‘transients,’” he stated. “These individuals are vacationers. They spend cash right here.”
That sentiment turned a typical theme as three-dozen audio system took the microphone, with some providing potential options to a problem that everybody agreed isn’t going away.
“This fee can not outright outlaw short-term leases,” Metropolis Lawyer Randy Mora acknowledged in his opening remarks. “It isn’t an possibility for us in 2022.”
Longtime resident Bob Copeland cited a state statute concerning trip leases that he stated may result in stricter laws for the business statewide.
“My memo supplies a transparent path for town to get out of this downside by merely making use of the foundations beneath the statutes,” stated Copeland, who directed the memo to town legal professional and Metropolis Supervisor Gregg Mims.
Copeland stated he discovered a 2015 Flagler County case that was upheld on enchantment and provides county officers the power “to manage something apart from frequency and length” of short-term rental offers.
He added: “These statute provisions set a decrease bar for enforcement than the legal guidelines concerning these points for most of the people in a residential space. The state units a particular legislation to manage improper habits in public lodging. … When these buyers determined to purchase a property as a (short-term rental) they’ve chosen to transform it from a residential use to a industrial use. And the industrial zoning, hearth, and security codes are a lot increased than residential.”
Copeland stated these codes embody obligatory hearth suppression and escape programs, particular inspections of balconies, railways and stairs for buildings over three tales excessive. He stated there additionally may be increased metropolis charges and obligatory fences, visitor registers and most occupancy limits.
“I’d enterprise to say there are a number of leases that aren’t in compliance,” Copeland stated.
To that time, Pinellas County Fireplace & Rescue District Chief Jeffrey Davidson stated the division is engaged on creating an ordinance associated to fire-safety laws that may piggyback with town’s laws.
“We have been working for months on an ordinance we need to enact districtwide,” Davidson stated, noting the laws would enable the division to examine industrial lodging and “be certain that they’re following the code” relating to hearth suppression, smoke alarms and different laws.
Davidson stated in addition they may “make suggestions” concerning occupancy and “we are able to work with town to determine any points.”
After a metropolis of Largo code enforcement officer spoke in regards to the hardships of imposing laws, Redington Seashore Mayor David Will famous they “have the identical issues” in his metropolis and urged residents to maintain contacting their state legislators in Tallahassee who’ve “handcuffed” the native lawmakers.
“Native voices needs to be making native decisions,” Will stated, including there’s a invoice being launched this legislative session “that can return your means to weigh in on zoning (so) please do not surrender on that.”
“That is my 14th 12 months up right here and that is one thing we now have to stay with,” IRB Commissioner Phil Hanna stated, “Florida Statute 509 is the place these items is slipped in, so there undoubtedly is a pathway, and collectively we are able to get this to occur.”
Main Cookie Kennedy, who famous state Sen. Ed Hooper was in attendance and is “on our facet” of the problem, stated the fee goes to jot down a letter recommending the hearth division’s ordinance “to allow them to get transferring on that straight away.”
Kennedy seen town has employed a second code enforcement officer to handle leases and is trying to rent a Justice of the Peace to deal with the circumstances. She additionally instructed town supervisor to start out addressing issues like most occupancy, enterprise tax licensing, public data campaigns and rising charges and fines.
The mayor additionally thanked everybody, together with “the nice trip rental homeowners,” for working in direction of the betterment of the group.
“All of the seashore mayors agree on this subject,” she added.