Holmes Beach’s mayor has decided to get tough on owners of single-family homes that have become vacation rentals and violate city codes.
Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said he’s had numerous complaints the past six months about loud parties after 10 p.m. at some locations and trash left at the curb on non-pickup days. After so many complaints and efforts to settle the issues informally with property owners and managers, he’s now decided direct action is needed.
Bohnenberger directed code enforcement officer Dave Forbes and building official Bob Shaffer to inspect 14 properties that were the subject of complaints.
“We want to show the residents that we are listening to them, that our intent is to have these properties come into compliance with our ordinances,” Bohnenberger said.
Shaffer said he and Forbes inspected the 14 properties on Oct. 13 to determine if they met the city code for a residence or were in violation of the code for trash left out or for being a vacation rental.
Shaffer said 10 of those houses were found to be “not in compliance” with code.
Shaffer said the mayor authorized certified letters sent Oct. 14 to property owners — with a copy to rental managers — asking them to bring their property into compliance with the code or face suspension of the city rental license and/or the code enforcement board.
Bohnenberger said when a house is built, the owner attests in a signed document that the property is either a family residence or a rental. A residential house needs to provide parking for two cars and vehicles can park on the right of way. A house that is declared a vacation rental needs one dedicated parking space for each bedroom and no parking is allocated in the right of way.
And there are other regulations that a rental property must comply with, Shaffer added.
He said he and Forbes found several houses that appeared to be vacation rentals but lacked sufficient parking.
Bohnenberger said it appears some people have attested to building a family residence, when the house was to be a vacation property all along.
“Notice of violation” was sent on Oct. 14 to the 10 offending property owners with copies to property managers, the mayor said.
“A lot of the owners don’t live here,” he said. By sending a copy of the notice to the rental manager, Bohnenberger said he hopes to expedite compliance with city codes.
Trash left on the curb on days when no trash pickup is scheduled also is part of the inspections, Shaffer said. The solution is to require rear-door pickup at those locations.
Shaffer said he did not have a breakdown of which of the 10 properties were considered a vacation rental and which were found in violation of the trash collection ordinance.
“But there will be more inspections in the coming weeks,” he said.
Bohnenberger said he and Forbes originally tried working with the managers and owners to correct violations, particularly trash left out on the curb, but that didn’t work.
If the owners do not bring the properties into compliance with city code, they can be ordered to appear before the code enforcement board, which can impose a fine of up to $250 per day for each code violation.
The list of properties found in violation Oct. 13 and the last name or corporate name of the owner are:
• 214 67th St., Hohendal.
• 4808 Gulf Drive-A, James.
• 132 50th St., Wien.
• 103 81st St., Pakbaz.
• 207 N. Harbor Drive, Derr.
• 304 65th St., Kaleta.
• 201 73rd St., Maz.
• 4913 Gulf Drive, Salinas.
• 208 72nd St., Landis.
• 101 81st St., Island Blowfish.
Shaffer said the certified letters were mailed to the property owner’s address, not the offending property address. If a rental manager for the offending location was identified, a copy was mailed to the manager’s address as well.