Flagler BOCC to Hear 1st Reading of Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinance
This ordinance, as written, is a ticking time bomb. The P&D Board punted on this one, apparently believing that political self-interest is somehow nobler than economic self-interest.
Palm Coast, FL – October 31, 2014 – The Flagler County Planning & Development Board Wednesday night voted unanimously to forward a proposed short-term vacation rental ordinance to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) with a recommendation that the BOCC pass the ordinance as written. Several blue-shirted Hammock residents were in attendance to support approval. They left happy, but the meeting was a sham and the ordinance, as written, is a ticking time bomb.
Ocean Hammock’s rental problem has its genesis in the original development order and association documents. Developer Bobby Ginn struck a deal with the BOCC when he obtained plat approval for Ocean Hammock. Describing his development as a “resort community,” Bobby insisted that short term rentals be allowed in both condominiums and houses within his development. As clearly stated in the transcript of the January 16, 2001 regular BOCC meeting, the BOCC acceded. Ginn reaffirmed his intention earlier this year in sworn testimony.
Before 2011, there were no attempts to add constraints or to increase control over short-term vacation rentals in Flagler County. In other parts of Florida, some local governments did place restrictions on short-term vacation rentals. In some cases, these regulations were burdensome.
The vacation rental lobby successfully argued in Tallahassee that they were being legislated or zoned out of existence. Tallahassee responded. In 2011, Florida House bill 883 preempted control of short-term vacation rentals from local governments.
One of the unintended consequences in many parts of Florida was rental cramming, where the most number of people possible were crammed in to one rental property. Local governments could do nothing about it.
Rather than cramming, investors in Ocean Hammock simply built bigger houses with more bedrooms. They began building what some describe as mini hotels, homes designed to be rented short-term to large vacationing groups. The regulatory occupancy standard was two people per bedroom plus two more. Hence, a nine-bedroom house could accommodate 20 (2 X 9 = 18 + 2 = 20). Both the county and the Ocean Hammock Property Owners Association Architectural Review Board approved the building plans.
Facing mini-hotels on their street or even next door, Ocean Hammock residents rose up in protest over abuses by vacation renters. Complaints centered on parking, noise, traffic, fireworks and garbage. In part, because of residents’ efforts, Florida legislators representing Flagler County, Representative Travis Hutson and Senator John Thrasher, brought companion bills to the their respective chambers of the Florida legislature.
Flagler County Commissioners Frank Meeker and Charlie Erickson travelled to Tallahassee to lobby strongly for a change. Meeker represents County District two, which encompasses Ocean Hammock. Their goal was to return control over short-term vacation rentals to Flagler County, enabling the county to address the Ocean Hammock issue.
Earlier this year, Florida partially unwound the 883 with Senate bill 354, which returned much control to local governments. But local governments still could not control the frequency or term of rental agreements.
Upon passage of 354, Flagler County staff, with the urging and participation of Ocean Hammock residents, began crafting a local ordinance to regulate short-term vacation rentals in the county. Jacksonville attorney Wayne Flowers, representing some of the vacation rental owners, reached out to Flagler County Attorney, Al Hadeed, to offer help in drafting the ordinance. His offer to participate was ignored. The attitude behind that rebuff practically guaranteed that the outcome would be one-sided and overreaching. It set in motion events leading, I think inevitably, to a battle between the county and owners of vacation rentals; a battle that threatens to be costly to all parties unless the BOCC does a reset.
The proposed ordinance
The draft of the proposed ordinance to regulate short-term vacation rentals is dated October 23, 2014. That same day, most Ocean Hammock residents were alerted for the first time via email of the ordinance and of an October 29, 2014 special meeting of the Flagler County Planning & Development Board. The P&D Board’s role is to recommend that the BOCC either pass or deny the ordinance.
Attorney Flowers first learned of the draft and of the special meeting from a property owner that day and did not see the draft ordinance until the following day, October 24, 2014, the same day I was alerted. Flowers responded with an October 27th letter to Hadeed outlining several objections and including economic impact data.
At the special meeting, the P&D Board recommended the BOCC pass the ordinance as written. The vote was unanimous. During the meeting, staff presented the ordinance and underlying assumptions. Flowers spoke, referencing his letter, saying that, due to the short notice of the meeting, he had little to add. He voiced his concerns over timing saying, “The train is on the tracks and it’s going pretty darn fast.”
Flowers pointed out that the present track would likely paint his clients into a corner where the only option was litigation, likely under the Bert Harris Act. The Bert Harris Act, also known as the Private Property Rights Protection Act, provides relief for property owners who can demonstrate that a governmental action “inordinately burdens” their property’s use.
The Bert Harris argument was used successfully by Seagate Homes in a dispute with the City of Palm Coast seven years ago. In a negotiated settlement, the city reversed a land use decision regarding a 27.8-acre parcel near Rymfire Drive that made the project economically unfeasible to develop. City of Palm Coast Settles Ryans Landing Dispute with SeaGate Homes
The proposed new ordinance has several good points. It addresses health and safety issues such as swimming pool safety, fire suppression, evacuation, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It will also insure greater compliance of bed tax and sales tax collection.
It requires at least one telephone land-line, based on the assertion that out of town cell phone numbers are problematic in 911 call situations. Reasonable logic in the past, but doesn’t hold water in the face of the fact that many homeowners have gone wireless. Many of my local full-time resident friends do not have land lines but use cell phones exclusively. Many of their cell numbers have legacy area codes from a former address.
The proposed ordinance also sets up a system of certification, license and inspection requiring:
- Obtaining a short-term vacation rental certificate from Flagler County
- Obtaining a business tax receipt from Flagler County
- Obtaining a Florida Department of Revenue certificate of registration for purposes of collecting and remitting tourist development taxes, sales surtaxes, and transient rental taxes
- Obtaining a Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation license as a transient public lodging establishment
For Ocean Hammock short-term vacation rentals, the maximum occupancy shall be limited to eight occupants per unit, including day guests. There is no provision to grandfather the occupancy cap.
Properties designated for short-term vacation rentals cannot be located within 500 feet as measured from property line to property line of another short-term vacation rental certificate holder. Present units located within the 500 foot limit are grandfathered.
As I have said before, I have no dog in this hunt. I do not own property in Ocean Hammock nor do I expect to ever rent a vacation home there. I have friends on both sides of the argument. I live in a condominium complex that allows short-term vacation rentals. I wish that it were not so, but I read my condominium declaration and rules before I moved in and understood the implications.
I am a member and past-president of my condominium association board. I have learned that there are often competing interests among property owners. Those competing interests are sometimes difficult to reconcile. Reconciliation options are limited by legal constraints.
The proposed ordinance is poorly drafted, one-sided and overreaching. It has 68 ‘Whereas’ clauses for God’s sake. What does that tell you? I must check the Guinness Book of Records.
I take particular exception to the arbitrary occupancy cap and to the lack of a grandfather provision for the occupancy limit. The limit is arbitrary and capricious. Staff arguments to support it are lame, at best. If these provisions remain, the Bert Harris implications are obvious.
I also take exception to the approval process. One side of the debate was allowed to participate in the ordinance’s development. The other side, although willingly available, was willfully excluded. Why was a special meeting of the P&D Board called for the sole purpose of acting on the proposed ordinance when a regularly scheduled meeting was only two weeks away?
The P&D Board failed to play its role as a deliberative body. Only two of the eight members posed questions. Most of the resident complaints were about nuisance issues. None of the Board members raised the question that came first to my mind. “Do the community documents address these issues?” The answer is yes. Existing Ocean Hammock documents regulate, restrict or prohibit activities associated with noise, parking, traffic, fireworks, garbage handling etc. The portions of the county ordinance dealing with these issues are redundant.
Al Hadeed should have fully informed the P&D Board of the possible Bert Harris Act implications of the ordinance, if enacted. Rather, he tossing it off as trivial, something to be expected. He disingenuously dismissed Flowers’ statements, saying Flowers really had nothing to say other than “we will sue you.” Hadeed neither mentioned Flower’s letter nor discussed its content. Hadeed failed in his duty as County Attorney. The risk is real. Losing could be terribly expensive.
Litigation costs and losses could be significant. Also significant is the economic impact of tourism, of which short-term vacation rentals are a major component. The industry reportedly has a total economic impact of $31,103,335,624 annually in Florida. Vacation Rental Pros, the largest vacation rental agency operating in Flagler County collects over $500,000 each year in bed tax.
Four and one half days after the hastily called P&D Board’s special meeting, the BOCC Monday morning at 9:00 A.M. will hear the first reading of the proposed ordinance. They should listen. They should ask a lot of questions. How many citations have been issued by the county related to Ocean Hammock short-term vacation rentals? They should grill Hadeed.
A controlling ordinance is needed, but this edition isn't the one. BOCC should instruct staff to reconvene and, with input from stakeholders on both sides, come up with an ordinance that will accomplish meaningful and reasonable controls on the short-term vacation rental industry. The effort should be transparent and collaborative.
If the rewrite still has 68 ‘Whereas’ clauses, they should send it back for another rewrite without even reading the rest of the revised draft.
Thank you Toby for your Honesty and Bravery.
I was the chairman of the Covenant committee at Ocean Hammock for several years. The committee was advised of the right of the community to call the Sheriff’s office to make arrests of and enforce evictions of unruly short terms renters as needed. It turned out that on those rare occasions when a short term renter was overly rambuctious, and caused a nuisance, the sheriff was rarely called. Why not? The goal of the community is to prohibit, not regulate renters.
It also turns out that some of the local residents are just as bad or worse than the renters in making too much noise at private parties, illegal parking, fireworks displays, end problems with trash. There has never been anyone injured in a residential fire to my knowledge at any of the rental homes or condos n the resort.
The essence of the issue is based on fears of ignorant and poorly informed residents who think the “wrong” kind of people will ruin their paradise and depress property values. The loss of value is due to the bad reputation of the litigious community led by cowardly board members. Other ocean front communities like Bethany Beach have welcomed short term residents and their property values boomed. Hammock Dunes documents do not allow rentals less than 6 months and it was economically hit much harder than Ocean Hammock/Hammock Beach during the recent depression.
It’s not all about the Hammock
This over reaching ordinance is NOT all about the Hammock although I assume that is what prompted this. But this is about ALL of Flagler County. ALL of Flagler County. And it sure as heck seems like a money maker for them, doesn’t it. Fees, inspections, licenses, etc. And just who in the heck are they to determine what the lease terms are to be? Language to be used in the lease, what needs to be attached, etc. Absurd.
Ginn Had Nothing To Do With Ocean Hammock Plat
Bobby Ginn had nothing to do with the plat for Ocean Hammock where I live. It was Loews who carved it out of Hammock Dunes and laid down the plat.
Ginn Had Nothing To Do With Ocean Hammock Plat
Bobby Ginn had nothing to do with the plat for Ocean Hammock where I live. It was Loews who carved it out of Hammock Dunes and laid down the plat.
This is poor, poor legal anslysis by the governmental bodies. If the owners have a contract right that is msking them money and the county just wipes them out, that is a good “takings” claim under the 5th Amendment. That is why existing properties get grandfathered in many statutes. Really dumb kawyers.
As a property owner in Flagler County, I strongly oppose the proposed short term vacation rental ordinance that the county has drafted.
The ordinance would severely restrict and limit my property value and would deprive me of certain property rights that are inherent in the constitution.
I’ve been swimming and surfing in Flagler beach since 1951. My family lived in san mateo on sr100, I graduated from Stetson, in Deland, and owned vacation beach property since 1973. I’ve been a Florida real estate broker since 1973 and Florida state certified general contractor since 1976. The new proposed property rights restriction ordinance is a bad idea for owners and a bad idea for the county.
Please share my concerns with the appropriate Flagler County Officials and VOTE ‘NO’ on this ordinance.
Live next to it.
It’s funny how all those in favor or in support of rentals in Ocran hammoch are investors and the ones against are full time reaidents that have to live next door to a rental in a neighborhood designed for single family. If you had to live next to a mini hotel with different occupants each week you would have a different take. The renters in the house two doors down were up at 1/30AM in the hot tub. Every night is a party when you are on vacation and there is a place for that but it’s not in a neighborhood with full time residents. if you lived next to it you would think differently.
First of all the only plat designated as a resort is plat 35 where the Hammock Beach Club is located. You really should do your homework. If you read the CC&R’s for Ocean Hammock single family neighborhoods you will not see any mention of a resort community. You will find a statement regarding the type of dwelling permitted to be built on each lot. That dwelling is a detach one family dwelling.
As for the statement by Phil C. The county had no authority to conduct any enforcement. You sir do not have a qlue of what is happening in Ocean Hammock today.
Lastly if you can not afford a second home maybe you should not build it in a gated community. Every property owner new from the time they purchase their lot that the CC&R’S can be changed.
This ordiance was not rushed. The County staff did their homework. It has been two years in the making. All parties had the opportunity to voice their opinion. It is time for our County Commissioners to stand united and protect our single family communites in Flagler County.
Lets not forget this ordinance is not preventing anyone from conducting a short term vacation rental busniess. It is regulating this business in a responsible way. It will protect the renters and first responders.
For all of the opposed. Do you live next door to a vacation rental with 15 to 20 transient visitors who can change daily and weekly? Think about that.
Rental Ordinance should not be passed as written
sent to BOCC
We have a second home in Ocean Hammock(Cinnamon Beach) that we rent for a small number of weeks a year to cover some of our taxes, insurance, maintenance cost. We bought knowing that rentals were allowed in the neighborhood. We keep up our home and have installed many smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and safety exit lighting. We even have diagrams in our home that show exits from each room. We are very responsible owners. We do not begin to cover our costs today from renting. Please do NOT require additional costs(like a land line phone—we don’t even have one on our primary home anymore) there is a button on the alarm system right at the front door that one can press if they need police or fire—that should suffice. We aren’t there often enough to even begin to get the benefit from what we pay today for trash pickup—–please do not charge us more. If you are going to do that then you should instead be giving a credit to those who dont use the services very often.
We are not a “mini hotel”. We have a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with a nearly 3000 sq ft of living space. We easily can sleep 13 with all the various rooms(many of which are TV rooms but aren’t official bedrooms) but we are limited now to 8 overnight guests—-the same number as condos which are half our square footage.
Please do not require additional permitting and certificates—-this is overreaching from a cost and complexity standpoint…..we already do that in Cinnamon Beach—-this ordinance over reaches significantly. When we do rent we already have to register annually as a home that rents and we have to have our guests registered with our association.
Why is this being rushed through so fast? It sounds very inappropriate and questionable. Please vote NO and if you feel an ordinance is necessary then let’s have people on both sides roll up their shirts sleeves and come up with an agreeable compromise. These people should start with the objectives of an ordinance, then surface options with input from ALL types of parties….not just people who really don’t want any renters at all. There are many small owners that occasionally rent their homes and they need to be involved as well.
Thank you for your time.
My family owns a home in the Cinnamon Beach community of the Ocean Hammock neighborhood. I am sending this email to you, not in my capacity as an attorney, but as a homeowner. I hope that it does not become necessary for me to act in my capacity as an attorney in order to protect my family.
This email is sent to all of you, as well as to those who are running for election, because I am concerned the desire by Commissioner Meeker to address a single perceived problem, has numerous unintended consequences. Those consequences are not only potentially financially devastating to a community still attempting to recover from the Great Recession, but are also personally devastating to many individuals, like me, who will be negatively impacted by the proposed Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance. Please do not vote to pass this proposed Ordinance.
The “Whereas” recitals of the proposed Ordinance seems to focus on potential (but ill-defined) problems caused by “mini-hotels” and vacation rental companies; my home is not a mini-hotel and I do not use a rental management company. My home is a 4 bedroom home of 3700 square feet that was built in 2007 and renovated in 2013. I bought this as a second home for my family and we come to our home regularly. I am one of numerous homeowners who do NOT use a vacation rental management company, but I must rent the home to offset the costs of owning the house. Not using a rental management company is feasible for me because I live close, but it does mean additional burdens on me. So I understand the benefits a rental management company can offer to a homeowner. Although I love the Hammock Beach area, and have vacationed here regularly since 2005, I only invested in the community because I knew that my family could afford to have the home so long as we could rent our home.
If you vote to pass this Ordinance, you will cause many homeowners like me to sell our homes. Can you imagine what will happen when all of these homes are put on the market for sale? The resurgence of construction in the Hammock area will come to an immediate stop once there becomes an abundance of homes back on the market. The home prices will again plummet with the increase in home inventory. Foreclosures will again increase as people default on loans. Real estate taxes will reduce because of the de-valuation of homes. The money that part-time residents like me spend in the community will disappear. The taxes we pay will dry up. The faltering recovery in Flagler County will disintegrate. In short, an Ordinance like the one proposed will effectively jump start a NEW recession in Flagler County like the one from which our community is trying to recover. Does this Board want to be responsible for the loss of jobs and revenue in Flagler County? In addition, I cannot imagine the extreme costs to Flagler County in defending the lawsuits that will be filed if this Ordinance is passed.
Personally, I have invested a lot of time and money in making my home beautiful. I took over the home after a foreclosure and it was left in horrible shape. I continue to work on the home just like any of you do on your house. If I lose my family’s home because of an over-reaching Ordinance like the one presented for your consideration, my family will be heart-broken.
There must be a more reasonable approach that can be taken by the County. In our community we recently went through a many-month ordeal trying to come to terms among the homeowners that balance the interests of full-time residents, part-time residents (like me), and full time investors. Although I was not excited about the restrictions eventually imposed, the process was at least more balanced and fair than what is being presented to this Board.
Please vote AGAINST this Ordinance when it is brought before you. Send it back to Staff with directions to work with ALL stakeholders in the community so that a balanced and fair Ordinance can be proposed. Thank you.
Flagler County Vacation Rental Restrictions
I am writing to voice my objection to proposed restrictions on vacation rentals in Flagler county. I would have liked to come to the meeting but 3 days’ notice is not enough time, and seems somewhat unfair to many of the the affected parties. In my opinion the restrictions proposed pose a huge significant loss in income and property value to all residents of Flagler county.
I don’t disagree there are bad renters, and problems that arise. They can be short term or long term. However, it seems to me this is a people problem; not unlike any bad neighbor one may have; not a property use problem. As such they should be handled through local law enforcement that already has remedies in place not further property restrictions and more legislation.
I believe the proposed restrictions will damage the value of my property. I would reiterate my objection to the proposed restrictions. Please consider my appeal.
Get the real facts
Toby, for some one with no dog in this race you seem pretty one sides. Why don’t you talk to the people really affected by these nightmare homes? Have you ever asked the ocean hammock POA for the real facts on this matter? No. Have you ever asked to interview a Board representative? No. I guess then there is really a rush to judgement on your part.
Back Door Deal
First, Ocean Hammock was developed as a resort community, as referenced in the introduction page of the Ocean Hammock ARB Planning Criteria, “premiere residential and resort community”.
Most of these homes in question are newer homes built to the current residential building codes including fire safety, pool, zoning, etc. What is the difference between a homeowner who builds a 9 bedroom home and likes to use their pool and Jacuzzi and a family who rents a 9 bedroom home for a week? I am a member of the Building Officials Association of Florida (BOAF), and I cannot find one, other than use.
Hopefully the BOCC will vote against restricting growth and turning away not only tourism dollars, but construction, real estate, restaurant, and shopping,among many others.
This backdoor deal to appease a small group of retired folks who didn’t read their documents before they bought a home in a resort community, will definitely end up costing all of the residents of Flagler County in Tax Dollars, Growth, and Litigation and settlement Costs.
After the comments Mr. Hadeed has made in the P&D meeting trying to justify why he circumvented all stakeholders effected. He totally disregarded his previous quotes in this Flagler Live article “What they might be, I cannot predict,” Hadeed said. “That’s going to be vetted in a very extensive public hearing process that probably will include workshops because it has been such a central issue in Flagler County in the last two years.”
Great article Toby, I think you did more research than the P&D board.
To Flagler County Officials
As a county resident, I strongly oppose the latest draft ordinance seeking to restrict short-term vacation rentals.
The proposal violates my basic property rights as a homeowner in Flagler county and for that reason alone, should be abandoned.
Short Term Rental
This is an ordinance that needs to be well thought out. It appears to me after a scan of the ordinance that they will be the regulations by which short term rentals will be administered THROUGHOUT the entire county.
It would be best if it were an agreement where all parties involved had a voice in the drafting of it and TIME TO REVIEW IT thoroughly. Especially the Planning and Development Review Board and the BOCC need to spend time and energy to review all the implications of the ordinance.
As I read it now it regulates, as it should, the 10 BR, 10BA inside of a gated community. But it also imposes a big hardship on the homeowner who uses their house as a second home but rents it when they are not using it. See the note from the SC (or NC) person who makes this exact point. She is emotional in her comments and I guess I would be also if I were in her position. As an aside, years ago I was one of those people. My wife and I had a summer vacation home a block from Long Island sound which we used during the summer and then rented to school teachers during the winter months. The rental money helped us pay the mortgage and house proved to be a worthwhile investment.
I am not in town so I do not have details, about how other news organization covered this issue. Considering what you TOBY have reported, on the actions, or inactions, that the Planning Board took I think the BOCC should table this until a thorough review of it can be completed.
In closing, when I was running for office in 2004 a former Commissioner told me to be sure I made my decisions after carefully considering all the options and to not let the 50 loud voices in the Commission Chambers lead me into decision that was wrong for the other 60,000 people in the county. I know it is election time and I recognize that significant support has been provided to some of the Commissioners’ from the affected area. However, their job is to step back and legislate what is best for all their constituents. They need to consider even the woman from SC who doesn’t get to vote here but pays taxes here.
Once again, my recommendation to the County Commissioners is to table the issue until all the parties involved have had a chance to provide input, and there is time for the Planning and Review Board to review it and can submit on its’ recommendations to them.
Thought you actually did research???
WOW – you jump right to a conclusion without the facts. Shamefully writing on your part. Go Toby.. Not sure where but Go.
vote no to ban on rentals
I own a 9 bedroom home in the hammock. When I purchased my property I had a document that clearly proves that bobby ginn zoned all the communities vacation rental communities. I purchased within a vacation rental community and until now had my full rights to rent.
All the 50 or so people who are trying to pass a law that will affect the masses, should understand. You are not in a residential community. You had the same documents as I did and purchased in a vacation community.
If you did not want to see vacation rentals then you should have purchased elsewhere – perhaps hammock dunes.
Accordingly, I am sick of hearing lies about what this community is, the assumptions and lies that the people who rent are wealthy and can afford to be forced to sell their home. There is not any evidence that vacation rental people are causing noise, trash etc. To therefore take the words of these 50 or so people as the truth and take away others property rights as a result is unacceptable.
It is the 50 or so anti renters who started this who are the problem not the renters. The suggestion that those who rent are the bad people as they came along and ruined their residential community is absolute nonsense. As an example, I was speaking to a renter yesterday, a family of doctors. The anti renters suggest these people are bad people. Come on.
Look at the zoning documents its quite clear – its a vacation rental community and it is those who have come along and tried to turn it into a residential community that are the problem for the whole of flagler county, not the other way round.
Thank you Toby for your excellent, honest and accurate reporting.
After carefully reading the below comments, I have a few of my own. In my opinion:
1) The benefit of doubt should belong to neighborhood full-time residents. As stated by Jim and Ron: Live Next To It! The constant annoyance of 16-20 tenants next door outweighs the so-called “unconstitutional takings of property rights” (what nonsense)or the “benefits” of more bed tax and/or profitability of over-the-top rental management companies. Adjacent property owners have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their property.
2) Concerns over diminishing property values should the Ordnance be passed are exagerated and unfounded. Want to know what WILL ruin your property’s value quicker than anything else? How about an Animal House on either side.
3) The land line expense objection is laughable. Triple Play offers a discounted bundle with cable, internet and free land line. And the safety issue alone is worth it when a tenant has to call 911. I think it’s irresponsible to NOT have a land line in a rental.
4) Eight overnight tenants is a reasonable number, but perhaps a negotiated limit of ten would satisfy those in opposition. You’ve really got to question why someone would build a 9-bedroom home for rent. What were you thinking? More importantly, did you consider the neighborhood at all? The impact on trash, number of cars, traffic, late-night partying, safety, first responders, fire fighters?
5) Taxes collected are based on rental amounts, not head count. Tourism tax dollars should not be affected by much, if at all. The state and county will do just fine. Injecting concerns over collection of tax dollars should not outweigh the inconvenience or a resident’s right to enjoy his/her property.
Commissioners and fellow Flager County business pe
This proposed ordinance makes a mockery out of the millions of dollars that Florida spends to promote tourism, and more specifically the tens of thousands that Flagler County spends to promote, among other things, one of the “coolest small towns in America”.
The disturbances that have been caused by a few unruly short term renters are already against the law. Nobody wants unruly, out-of-control neighbors, paying guests or not. Call the sheriff! Call the management company or the owners of the property with the disturbance. You’re not enforcing the current rules and laws and now you want to make more laws that will not only affect Ocean Hammock, but ALL of FLAGLER COUNTY. This includes Flagler Beach, Beverly Beach, the old Hammock. If you want to limit the number of guests in Ocean Hammock, then please change your covenants! Why have you brought this to a county level? Do you not have enough support in your own community that you’ve now had to resort to your local politicians?
We live in a condo complex in Beverly Beach that allows short term rentals. Occasionally there is more noise than one would like. But this is not specific to “renters”. It’s also true for “guests” who stay at friends or relatives and are not paying money to do so. We kindly ask whomever it is to please respect the neighbors. Usually that works. If not, we call the owner or the management company who have the power to evict. If they were unreachable, we would call the sheriff (which has never had to be done.) Mind you, all of this is rare and just as often as paying guests, it comes from guests who are not paying. After all, we do live in at the beach where people come to vacation.
People have been coming to Flagler County for summer vacation for generations. They’ve brought their children, now they want to bring their grandchildren. Lots of family memories have been made in Flagler County. Isn’t that what you are promoting with “come to the quiet side of Florida”? Have you ever gone on vacation with your extended family, or wanted to? If this ordinance passes, unless these families have made friends who won’t charge them rent (because this is only about paying guests), they are no longer welcome and will be forced to go elsewhere, maybe even another state.
Does this make any sense at all? I fail to see any logic in creating more laws or rules to “control” people when current laws do the same thing without the devastating economic impact this will have on Flagler County, and yes, also on property values.
I digress. Please allow me to answer my own question as to why Ocean Hammock residents have come to the County. Apparently they can’t get enough support in their own community to change their covenants, so they’ve come to the county, where, I presume it only takes 3 votes to pass since that is a simple majority. And the economic impact will be devastating for everyone but the attorneys.
Lowe Ocean Hammock LTD
For all the people talking about Bobby Ginn, please note that Bobby Ginn did not develop Ocean Hammock. Please check the Flagler County Property Appraiser’s website and note that those properties were developed by Lowe O cean Hammock LTD. Check your facts first and note that Ocean Hammock was developed as a residential community, not a resort. Lots of misinformation is being spread by people who do not know the history of the community.
Also, this ordinance does not prevent rentals but does try to make renting safe for the renters and palatable for the community as a whole. Please stop encouraging all this hysteria and deal with the facts.
Community vs. Property Rights – Pragmatic Solution
As a long-term (9 years) owner of a lot that I intended to build upon once I retired, I am deeply disturbed by the process the board has taken.
The fact is changes to rules that impact property rights need to be carefully considered for all the right reasons. Within a community, a majority cannot take away a minority’s rights — and that includes property rights.
That does not mean that certain rules addressing real problems should not be considered. They should. But the focus should be on getting BOTH sides to engage in an open forum where those that control the local board are not on one side.
There is no logic to the 8 person limit — why not 10, 20, 2 or 1? On what basis was it reached?
I would not want 50 people living next to me — but I also don’t want to create a situation where lawsuits that are WELL FOUNDED continue to suck out the economic life of my investment.
Like many people that own property in Ocean Ridge/Hammock, I am fully capable of hiring a very good attorney and suing if I feel that I have been harmed by over-reaching of people voted to represent ALL of us.
I realize this has become political – but I hope those that can make a difference do the right thing — the number of lawsuits that come out of this would be the ultimate measure of whether a true compromise was reached or not — we will not know that for several years, but those that make the decision today should be held accountable for that very measure over the next 2-3 years.
And I am not talking about wealthy investors that only want to maximize their investments. I am also talking about hard working American’s who want to retire in a community but also want some flexibility to MAXIMIZE their investment.
I do not feel ANYONE has listened to my concerns over the years. I have written several letters to the Board and never once received a response.
The response was fly to Palm Coast and sit in on the meetings. They knew most of us cannot afford to do that — nor should we have to.
If both sides are disappointed, we probably have a fair and balanced solution. If one side feels good about the outcome, then there is not way the process or decision will be fair. If the party that feels things were not fair is harmed economically AND the other side feels the outcome was good, a real travesty will have occurred and the law suits will be many and varied and non-stop.
Do the right thing – slow the vote down, listen to both sides, and come up with something that neither side feels is fair. And be careful that property rights are not trampled upon. And that REAL issues with extreme problems associated with rentals are addressed.
Did You Really Build a 9 Bedroom Home?
According to the offical records in Flagler County your home was built with 7 bedrooms. Why are you advertising your home for short term rental as an 11 bedroom. You are the problem. You are the reason why Flagler county must enforce ordinances for life safety. Steve Milo the owner of Vacation Rental Pro’s should be sued by all the investors that have been lied too by this unprofessional fraud.
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