Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn is urging residents and property owners to attend the commission meeting Jan. 24, when commissioners will discuss ordinances that will tie delegated parking spaces at family residences with the number of bedrooms, and also examine living-area limits for residences.
“It’s a critical meeting for our future,” the mayor said. “If we want to maintain our quality of life, we need to take control before we are flooded with multiple bedroom houses that can be rented to two or three families, or 10-20 people, at the same time.”
The city can’t regulate the number of bedrooms at a residence, she said, but it can regulate parking to ensure the city isn’t overrun by “multi-bedroom vacation rentals” that accommodate 15-20 people or several families at the same time, SueLynn said.
She made it clear she has nothing against tourism to the city. In fact, she welcomes visitors who come for the right reasons.
“We are always going to have tourists and they are the backbone of our economy. Tourism is great for our city and the city pier is the county’s number one attraction,” she said. “I love the visitors who come here to enjoy our lifestyle, obey our laws, and respect the residents and the peace and quiet we enjoy.”
But problems have surfaced in the past two years in the vacation rental industry on Anna Maria Island, problems the city never foresaw.
Developers began turning vacation homes into multiple bedroom rentals, advertising online that several families, or large groups of people, could rent the house at the same time because it had four, five or six bedrooms, the mayor said.
“That’s when we started getting noise complaints. These were not real tourists, but people from Tampa or elsewhere that just wanted a party place. Anna Maria is not a party town and we’re not going to become one,” she said.
“It’s happened in Holmes Beach and it’s already happening here,” she said.
“This is not about good tourism. I have no problem with people and families who come here, enjoy our city and respect our laws,” she said. “This is about greed.”
She said she’s heard that Bon Eau Enterprises LLC, owners of the Villa Rosa property on South Bay Boulevard, may be interested in developing the 11 lots in the subdivision. Each lot is about 7,500 square feet.
“Without proper ordinances, each Villa Rosa house could become a six- or eight-bedroom home,” the mayor said.
Villa Rosa at one time was owned by the now bankrupt GSR Development LLC, the same company that planned to develop the Rosa del Mar condominiums in Bradenton Beach, SueLynn noted.
The mayor said she worries that “a lot of residents think this problem isn’t here. I’m sorry to tell you, but the developers are already in Anna Maria, and looking to maximize investments in a vacation rental with multiple-bedroom properties, including bedrooms on the ground floor. We have to do something quick or future generations will have lost the quality and ambiance of life in Anna Maria.”
Commissioner Chuck Webb agreed some multiple bedroom homes are just motels. He said he observed 15 cars in front of a house where a party was taking place. “They’re running a motel there,” he suggested.
SueLynn said residents who want to see an example of what developers plan for the cities, they should review the Internet website 9solutions.net.
“After you read this website, you can decide if some developers don’t care one whit about the quality of life for our residents, or the three- and six-month residents and families who come here to enjoy peace and quiet during the season. In my opinion, all they care about is making more money,” she said.
SueLynn said 9solutions.net advertises for investors in Anna Maria Island properties that will be developed with multiple bedrooms.
The 9solutions.net website says that with a large island tourism increase in recent years, “solutions began to purchase old duplexes and replace them with larger townhouses with a view to accommodating more and more visitors.”
The website states families can vacation together at a lower cost compared to renting several small accommodations.
The website also says the company is “finalizing negotiations to purchase a unique site and construct 16 new, direct Gulffront, luxury condos on Anna Maria.”
SueLynn said she’s unaware of any condo project in Anna Maria, and does not think there is vacant land for such a project in the city.
Steve Hanson, the corporate manager of 9Solutions LLC, purchased the Rosa del Mar property two years ago, but has not submitted any site plans for development.
According to sunbiz.org, Florida’s website for information on corporations, 9Solutions maintains an office at 444 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.
Hanson was interviewed about his plans when he bought Rosa del Mar in Bradenton Beach, but nothing has materialized at that site.
SueLynn said she felt “terrible” for Anna Maria after reading the website and similar promotions.
“This is happening now in our city. Drastic action is needed by the commission. Some people aren’t going to like it, but we must stop this now or we’ve lost the village we love. This is the price of greed,” she added. “We’ve got to bite the bullet.”
Commissioner Gene Aubry agreed. He said he didn’t need to read the website to know what’s happening.
“We’re not going to take this lying down,” he said. “These vacation rentals are not residences. They are subject to a different set of regulations, and we need to enforce those.” He said would propose several measures to “take control” of the situation.
Efforts to reach Hanson for comment were unsuccessful..