Flagler County Commissioners Get Unanimous Vote from Senate Committee on Vacation Homes Issue

Short term vacation rental homes with sometimes more than 20 people in one home are creating parking, noise and other problems in beach-side residential neighborhoods.

Palm Coast, FL – January 9, 2013 — Flagler County Commissioners, joined by Senator John Thrasher with support from the Florida Association of Counties, the League of Cities and others, walked away with a unanimous vote from a Senate Committee on regulation of short term vacation home rentals.

The legislature may be in favor of unwinding what, in retrospect, was a bad House Bill, but it's not going to be easy or painless to get the genie back in the bottle. There are some complicated property rights issues and serious money involved.

Flagler County Commission Vice Chairman Frank Meeker spoke before the State Senate Committee on Regulated Industries today along with County Attorney Al Hadeed. Commissioner Charles Erickson Jr. also attended the meeting to provide support.

Flagler County, with the assistance of its State Legislative Delegation, is attempting to amend House Bill 883 passed in 2011 which took away all local control of short term vacation rental properties. The result of that bill was a proliferation of mini-hotels permitted as super-sized homes in residential neighborhoods being rented to four to six families at a time without the same rules or oversight of a typical hotel/motel.

Flagler County also received support from spokespersons for Manatee and Sarasota counties and the cities of Ft. Lauderdale and Melbourne. Hadeed reported from Tallahassee that Vice Chairman Meeker “spoke candidly with the committee on the problems and the lack of local control of short term rentals.”

Short term vacation rental homes with sometimes more than 20 people in one home are creating parking, noise and other problems in residential neighborhoods, most notably in the Hammock. The law also triggered the modifying of existing homes into Mini-hotels to accommodate even larger groups of short term renters.

The local preemption legislation gave exclusive regulation of vacation homes to the State unless there were already local ordinances in place and exempted some jurisdictions altogether. The regulation was turned over to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

"Flagler County is concerned about the problems facing permanent county residents that live in areas with short term vacation homes,” County Commission Vice Chairman Frank Meeker said. “We don’t want to outlaw short term vacation homes, but they need to be regulated on a local level to maintain the sanctity of the residential neighborhoods they are located in.”

The committee vote is the first step in getting legislation to return the authority to local county and city governments to regulate short term vacation home rentals in residential neighborhoods.  

To view the entire Senate committee meeting click here:  https://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=2443575804_2014011044  

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