… and takes steps to amend vacation rental regulations

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Attorney Stephen Dye, sitting in Sept. 10 for Holmes Beach city attorney Patricia Petruff, both partners in the Dye Harrison law firm, offers his view during the commission meeting. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

Holmes Beach is tackling changes to the 2016 vacation rental certificate program.

At their Sept. 10 meeting, commissioners approved 4-0 the first reading of an amended vacation rental ordinance, with some changes.

Commissioner Rick Hurst was absent with excuse.

Previously, Commissioner Kim Rash asked that the ordinance be amended to state that “excessive and boisterous noise” is not allowed at any time, not just during the quiet hours of 10 p.m.-7 a.m.

The commission agreed to expand the language about noise in a residential area, including a stipulation that only “quiet conversation” can occur 10 p.m.-7 a.m., in a pamphlet to be placed in rental units and advertising.

Additionally, attorney Stephen Dye, sitting in for vacationing city attorney Patricia Petruff, both principles in the Dye Harrison law firm, noticed some repetitive phrasing in the section of the ordinance dealing with advertising for vacation rentals.

The commission agreed the language should be amended before the final reading and public hearing.

At a previous meeting, commissioners agreed to a recommendation from staff to raise the fee from $150 to $695 for initial application and biennial renewals to cover program costs.

The commission also is considering adding monthly vacation rentals to the certificate program, and lowering the application fee for weekly rentals to $545.

The new fee for re-inspection would be $50. A second re-inspection now incurs a $75 fee for owners.

Additionally, the change of authorized agent fee increased from $35 to $50.

Based on commission consensus, violations with a $150 fee for a first offense would include:
• Advertising that violates city codes or ordinances;
• Failing to list the amount of parking spaces at a rental property;
• Neglecting to register new rental agents within 15 business days;
• Failing to schedule an inspection within 30 days of application;
• And, failing to schedule a re-inspection within 30 days of an inspection failure.

The city would give the property owner 48 hours to come into compliance before issuance of a second citation.

Additional violations within 12 months of the first violation would result in a $500 fine unless, after a hearing, the special magistrate chooses to reduce or increase the fine.

Improper placement of a short-term rental sign on a property also would trigger a $150 fine, but the city would allow 24 hours to comply before issuing a second violation.

A $250 first violation would be issued for exceeding maximum occupancy limits, advertising without a valid certificate and advertising that does not state a seven-day minimum stay.

Renting a property without a valid vacation rental certificate would incur a $500 fine.

The maximum fine for all violations would be an irreversible fine of $5,000.

The second reading, final public hearing and a vote on the vacation rental ordinance will be set for a future meeting.

The next city commission meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

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