Vacation rentals debate heats up in Indian Rocks Beach | Beaches

Garrett Gardner

INDIAN ROCKS Beach — The line to speak at a Nov. 15 conference on quick-term rentals stretched from the entrance of the Metropolis Corridor auditorium to the back and out the doorway, as hundreds confirmed up to vent on the scorching-button subject matter.

During the direct-up to the conference, associates of a grassroots team opposed to the explosion of trip rentals in the metropolis repeatedly urged city leaders to deal with the “cancer in their community” and control difficulties affiliated with “transient housing,” citing sound, trash and parking troubles.

But quite a few who came out spoke in defense of getaway rentals. Quite a few urged for an end to the identify-calling and for a cooperative hard work to do the job alongside one another and locate remedies.

“I very own a limited-expression rental and I don’t want the undesirable components there possibly,” Steve Van Leeuwen stated early in the 3 1/2-hour assembly. “But I want to defend us. We make for an simple focus on.”

Van Leeuwen said the marketplace can help the barrier island’s economic climate. 

“People do not comprehend what quick-expression rentals do for the community,” he said.

Van Leeuwen extra that 6{5a5867cc9cca71cf546db38f42fbf171004839e3542174405390d177276b4f49} of the reserving costs go to the town “right off the top” and observed most site visitors store and take in locally.

“And I get situation with the title ‘transients,’” he stated. “These persons are travelers. They commit dollars listed here.”

That sentiment became a popular concept as a few-dozen speakers took the microphone, with some supplying possible alternatives to an challenge that everyone agreed is not heading away.

“This fee are not able to outright outlaw shorter-term rentals,” Metropolis Lawyer Randy Mora mentioned in his opening remarks. “It is not an alternative to us in 2022.”

Longtime resident Bob Copeland cited a point out statute regarding family vacation rentals that he mentioned could lead to stricter laws for the sector statewide.

“My memo offers a very clear route for the town to get out of this trouble by merely applying the guidelines below the statutes,” explained Copeland, who directed the memo to the metropolis legal professional and City Manager Gregg Mims.

Copeland stated he discovered a 2015 Flagler County scenario that was upheld on attraction and gives county officers the potential “to regulate everything other than for frequency and duration” of limited-time period rental discounts.

He additional: “These statute provisions set a decreased bar for enforcement than the laws with regards to these concerns for the typical community in a residential space. The point out set a unique law to manage poor behavior in general public lodging. … When these investors decided to invest in a assets as a (shorter-phrase rental) they have picked to transform it from a residential use to a professional use. And the professional zoning, hearth, and security codes are considerably higher than residential.” 

Copeland claimed these codes include things like necessary hearth suppression and escape programs, unique inspections of balconies, railways and stairs for structures around a few tales significant. He said there also can be higher metropolis costs and necessary fences, visitor registers and most occupancy limitations.

“I would venture to say there are numerous rentals that are not in compliance,” Copeland said.

To that place, Pinellas County Fireplace & Rescue District Main Jeffrey Davidson said the section is operating on developing an ordinance relevant to hearth-security laws that would piggyback with the city’s regulations.

“We’ve been functioning for months on an ordinance we want to enact districtwide,” Davidson explained, noting the laws would make it possible for the office to examine commercial lodging and “make certain they are next the code” when it comes to hearth suppression, smoke alarms and other laws.

Davidson said they also could “make recommendations” relating to occupancy and “we can get the job done with the metropolis to recognize any issues.”

Following a metropolis of Largo code enforcement officer spoke about the hardships of implementing rules, Redington Seashore Mayor David Will noted they “have the very same problems” in his city and urged residents to hold getting in touch with their condition legislators in Tallahassee who have “handcuffed” the nearby lawmakers. 

“Local voices should really be making area choices,” Will explained, including there is a monthly bill being launched this legislative session “that will return your means to weigh in on zoning (so) please do not give up on that.”

“This is my 14th yr up listed here and this is a little something we have to are living with,” IRB Commissioner Phil Hanna claimed, “Florida Statute 509 is the place this things is slipped in, so there unquestionably is a pathway, and collectively we can get this to take place.”

Mayor Cookie Kennedy, who famous condition Sen. Ed Hooper was in attendance and is “on our side” of the concern, said the commission is going to compose a letter recommending the fireplace department’s ordinance “so they can get going on that proper absent.”

Kennedy noted the town has hired a next code enforcement officer to deal with rentals and is looking to employ the service of a justice of the peace to cope with the situations. She also instructed the town manager to start off addressing points like most occupancy, business enterprise tax licensing, community information and facts strategies and raising expenses and fines.

The mayor also thanked anyone, like “the excellent holiday vacation rental house owners,” for doing the job towards the betterment of the local community.

“All the beach front mayors concur on this situation,” she included.




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