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Anna Maria vacation rentals topic of meeting

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Anna Maria commissioners at their Jan. 12 work session could begin discussion of vacation rental problems if Commission Chair Chuck Webb approves the agenda. The issue was on the draft agenda compiled by staff and Mayor Mike Selby that was sent to Webb Jan. 6 for approval.

The planning and zoning board was slated to discuss vacation rental issues at its Jan. 10 meeting and then present any recommendations to the city commission Jan. 12.

P&Z chair Sandy Mattick called for discussions after a variance was granted for a resident to build an 8-foot-high fence to limit noise from an adjacent rental property.

Mattick also noted it was a growing problem and should be addressed. The city’s permanent population has been in decline in recent years, while the number of vacation rental properties has increased.

Any issue related to vacation rentals would be on the table, said Mattick, including trash left on the curb before a collection date, trash bins left curbside for several days after a collection, parking spaces required for rental properties and the noise issue.

Anna Maria would appear to be following in the footsteps of its sister city — Holmes Beach — where that commission recently began tackling the vacation rental issue, particularly construction of large duplexes that can house several vacationing families at one time.

But new duplex construction won’t be an issue in Anna Maria. Existing duplexes in the city are grandfathered for use, and the Residential-Two zone for duplexes was abolished in the 2007 comprehensive plan.

Anna Maria has no zoning restrictions that would prohibit one-night stays in the city, and there is no restriction on the number of bedrooms for a single-family home, according to building official Bob Welch.

One Response to Anna Maria vacation rentals topic of meeting

  1. Key West, Florida began addressing the issue of short-term vacation rentals over a decade ago, and today the City regulates vacation rentals with a well defined city “Transient Rental Ordinance” that is strictly enforced. This is a very workable solution to a heated property issue that many communities are now addressing. The ‘spirit of the ordinance’ is to protect and maintain the peace, privacy and safety of residential neighborhoods, and to address property rights. Today, properties in Key West, Florida that rent for less than 30 days must have what is called a ‘transient rental license’. These licences remain with a property when it is sold. The City of Key West does not issue anymore permits and has a defined zone within the city where short-term rentals may operate. Some properties outside the zone have transient licenses that are grandfathered in, and may be sold to properties that are in located within the transient license zone. Licences are currently valued at over $25,000!

    Short-term rentals in Key West are restricted and scrutinized. Today in Key West, it is illegal to rent or even advertise a private home or condominium as a short-term vacation rental unless it has a transient rental license. To enforce this short-term vacation rental ordinance, the City of Key West Code Enforcement Department looks for properties that are in violation. One way this is done is by scrutinizing websites that include vacation rental by owner websites, (such as vrbo.com and homeaway.com).
    In light of the growing popularity of vacation rentals as an economical and more private alternative to hotel lodging, it would behoove communities who are just now grappling with this issue to at least consider putting in place a city noise ordinance and strictly enforcing it so as not to disturb neighbors. If communities work together on this issue it can be a win/win situation rather than a becoming a divisive issue.
    http://bit.ly/yMhQUP

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