Holmes Beach readies for rental recommendation review

It’s been the hot-button agenda item at Holmes Beach City Commission meetings since late last year — “continued discussion of short-term rentals.” And it’s bringing approximately 40-50 people to city meetings every two weeks.

While the issue is again set to be discussed at the city’s work session Tuesday, May 8, a different focus is expected.

“I’m going to limit public comment,” Commission Chair David Zaccagnino said, “because we’re down to the nitty-gritty.”

It’s time for commissioners “to speak to one another” and “make some decisions” toward new laws, he said.

Commissioners will be discussing city attorney Patricia Petruff’s short-term rental recommendations outlined in her April 30 memo at this week’s meeting, he said.

In January, Zaccagnino appointed commissioners to lead focus groups following a deluge of complaints in November and December relating to duplex construction and short-term rentals.

In April, commissioners concluded their focus group meetings on building codes, rental practices, code enforcement, zoning and permitting and licensing. By April 24, all commissioners reported their group’s recommendations to the commission.

Petruff’s memo addresses the focus group recommendations, indicating the following are not recommended:

• Increasing minimum lot size in residential district.

• Limiting the number of outstanding building permits a builder can be issued.

• Hiring an outside engineering firm for reviewing and approving plans and inspections.

• Revising practices that affect the FEMA 50 percent rule.

Petruff also stressed “any change to short-term rental regulations could void all existing regulations due to preemption,” referring to a state law passed in June 2011.

Her memo also pointed out issues that require commission direction, including:

• Restrictions on parking on rights of way at night.

• Exemptions to stormwater review on development of platted lots.

• Regulations on stormwater run-off.

• Solid-waste ordinance amendments to link the number of trash receptacles required per unit to either number of bedrooms or square footage.

• Requirement for rear-yard pickup for all business properties, including rentals.

• Changing duplex connection by underground foundation.

• Clarification of minimum distance between duplex units.

• Setbacks for pools, pool decks, screens.

• Restricting floor-area ratio maximums, increasing setbacks or decreasing lot coverage requirements.

The work session will follow the city commission regular meeting and the first reading of a proposed “administration of oath ordinance” at 7 p.m. at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.



Petruff: no objection to some rental solutions

Holmes Beach City attorney Patricia Petruff has given a thumbs up to some short-term rental recommendations presented by the city’s focus groups.

The recommendations she has “no objection” to include:

• Accurate procedure for posting inspections at job sites.

• More visible inspection boxes, closer to the property line.

• Better monitoring of completion time for construction projects.

• Require demolition or performance bonds for builders.

• Building permits listed weekly on city website.

• Amend the city’s land-development code to require a distance between buildings — though “building” definition also may need to be changed.

• Ticketing and costs for code violations — with a change in definition of “violator,” clear policy direction to mayor, code enforcement and police.

• Best practices coordination with rental agents.

• Raising business tax fees to maximum limit.

• Coordination with tax collector in periodic tax sweeps.

• Creation of advisory panel to monitor rogue rentals.

• Update and coordinate business tax file with other Island municipalities, and the police department.

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