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Volusia County choose upholds county’s short-term rental laws disputed in lawsuit

A Volusia County choose dominated on Dec. 12 that Volusia County’s code of ordinances does certainly prohibit short-term leases of lower than 30 days in residential zones — however the property house owners a part of the Trip Rental Residence Alliance of Volusia should not prepared to surrender , and shall be submitting an enchantment.

The alliance — together with Steven Murray, one other short-term rental proprietor — filed a lawsuit in opposition to the county in June 2021, a month after the Volusia County Council voted 5-2 in opposition to amending its short-term rental ordinance following about three hours of public feedback, together with video statements from involved residents. The council members cited not desirous to negatively affect residential neighborhoods in addition to unease about dropping the flexibility to manage short-term leases; the county argued that altering its 2004 ordinance would imply dropping its grandfather clause, since a 2011 regulation preempts native governments from prohibiting short-term leases or regulating the length or frequency of stays.

The council’s no vote additionally ended the creation of a short-term rental advisory committee that had been in dialogue.

Richard Feller, president of the VRHA, stated Decide Kathryn D. Weston’s ruling didn’t come as a shock. The alliance felt Weston was “principally a consultant of the county.”

“We anticipated this,” Feller stated. “We did not really feel like we had been really going to have the ability to get an unbiased ruling within the county itself, particularly for the reason that county is the defendant, however it was a mandatory step for us to take in order that we may proceed ahead on to the enchantment course of.”

Decide guidelines in favor of the county

In VRHA’s petition, the group of short-term rental house owners disputed the county’s place that it could prohibit trip leases utilizing its ordinance for inns and motels, deeming trip leases the identical type of property, and that they due to this fact can’t be operated in residential zoning districts .

As a result of the county’s ordinance would not particularly point out trip leases, that are outlined in state statute as “any unit or group of items in a condominium or cooperative or any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, three-family or 4 -family home or dwelling unit that’s rented to visitors greater than thrice in a calendar yr for durations of lower than 30 days or one calendar month … or which is marketed or held out to the general public as a spot recurrently rented to visitors ,” VRHA argued that any restriction of trip leases is preempted by state statute.

Volusia County issued a press launch on Tuesday, Dec. 13, concerning Weston’s ruling. The county quoted a portion of the ruling, which states, “Whereas the county’s definition of ‘resort/motel’ and the state’s definition of ‘trip rental’ should not an identical, their main traits overlap. Each phrases apply to buildings being rented to the general public for use as transient lodging for durations of lower than a month.”

“The ruling subsequently states, ‘Plaintiffs depend on, however misread, a nonbinding, casual opinion of the Lawyer Normal to argue {that a} zoning ordinance should use the phrase “trip rental” or “resort dwelling” to have grandfathered safety,'” in accordance with the press launch.

VRHA expresses confidence in enchantment

Many municipalities have handled the difficulty of trip leases in numerous methods, Feller stated. However, he felt that the state understood the significance of trip leases when it handed the regulation in 2011.

“I really feel like there’s various loopholes that this municipality is making an attempt to make use of to keep up preemption,” he stated. “And preemption guidelines are fairly minimize and dry from the state stage, so there’s not so much to argue there, however but counties in municipalities try to do that.”

He countered the choose’s assertion that VRA relied on the Lawyer Normal’s opinion {that a} zoning ordinance should particularly trip leases, saying they’re relying as an alternative on their perception the ruling the choose used of their case was “dangerous regulation,” and one which was heard earlier than the 2011 state statute.

Residents have voiced opposition to short-term leases in Volusia County, significantly in Ormond-by-the-Sea and Bethune Seaside. In Ormond Seaside, short-term leases are prohibited in residential areas; they’re solely allowed in properties east of State Street A1A that wouldn’t have a residential zoning.

Throughout the Residents for Ormond Seaside candidate discussion board in October, District 4 County Councilman-elect Troy Kent stated he and his spouse “reside the nightmare of three inns working round us,” referencing points with short-term leases in his neighborhood.

Feller argues that native trip dwelling rental house owners resembling him and the members of VRHA, who’ve lived the properties and are selective about who can keep of their leases, additionally need the perfect for his or her neighborhoods — whereas nonetheless defending their property rights.

“I believe we’re ready to take this so far as it must go,” Feller stated. “However I’ll say that we’re very, very assured within the enchantment course of. I do not suppose we might be shifting ahead with the enchantment if we did not really feel so assured in our case.”

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