Florida Is Watching: What Will Flagler Do With Short-term Vacation Rental Ordinance?

Reacting to Flagler and Ocean Hammock resident concerns, Florida returned most control of short-term vacation rentals to local governments. All of Florida is watching to see how Flagler responds.

Palm Coast, FL – November 8, 2014COMMENTARY: The Flagler County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) should be mindful that the State of Florida is watching to see how BOCC crafts its new short-term vacation rental ordinance. For years, Flagler County was the poor stepchild, unnoticed and underrepresented in Tallahassee. Flagler’s recent growth spurt and census-driven redistricting earned the county a seat at the grownup’s table.

The way in which Flagler Country chooses to craft its new short-term vacation rental ordinance will tell us if the county is worthy of a seat at that table. The draft ordinance presented to the Board of County Commissioners indicates that it is not.

Control over short-term vacation rentals was preempted in the first place because the rental industry successfully lobbied that local governments were regulating them out of business. Preemption had consequences that need to be addressed but Flagler’s draft ordinance simply reloads the rental lobby’s weapons with fresh ammunition.

What issues should be addressed by the new ordinance?

  • Health and Safety – certainly
  • Occupancy limits – although the present limit of 8 is indefensible
  • License and certification – to help insure that bed taxes are collected, that health and safety measures are in place and to provide a method to prevent unauthorized physical alteration of premises.

Regulation of noise, parking, traffic, fireworks, etc. have no place in a short-term vacation rental ordinance. They belong either in a general ordinance or in community association rules. Ocean Hammock already has strict parking rules. For example, “vehicles parked in the driveway cannot block sidewalks, and must always be parked in the same direction.” And "the maximum number of vehicles that can be parked outside overnight (between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.) at any home cannot exceed four (4) vehicles, provided adequate parking space exists."

When Flagler went to Tallahassee, Tallahassee listened. Flagler had newly-found political capital. Now Tallahassee is watching. If the convoluted and overreaching short-term vacation rental ordinance is passed as drafted, Flagler’s political capital will have been squandered.

The initial ordinance should be a measured response, deserving of home rule. Start with the essentials, and then expand as appropriate.

5 replies
  1. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Larry

    Wikipedia – A dateline is a brief piece of text included in news articles that describes where and when the story occurred, or was written or filed. I live and write in Palm Coast.

  2. Ronald J. Boyce
    Ronald J. Boyce says:

    One Sided Views


    Why would you only interview the oppositions opinion and give them 15 minutes of live broadcasting?

    Are you against making sure all vacation rentals are registered and inspected for building code violations and fire safety violations?

    Are you against protecting renters and first responders from illegal conversions that would jeopardize their safety in an emergency?

    Why is Vacation Rental Pro’s against these ordinances? They over occupy dwellings, they are guilty of illegal conversions and they are not compliant with the Florida Fire Code or Life safety codes.

    Toby would you occupy a single bedroom that is 10 X 15 with six persons? Would you allow more then eight persons in a three bedroom condo?

    This is what is going on in Flagler County.

    The big question. Would you buy a home next-door to a home that is being used as a transient public lodging establishment with an occupancy of 16 to 24 people that can change daily? Would you build a home next to one of these homes?

    You say you do not have a dog in this fight. So you must be an investor?

    This type of business does not belong in a single family community. Toby would you define in zoning what a single family home is? Would you define in zoning what a single family household is?

    Also what amenities are available to a single family home owner that is not a member of The Hammock Beach? How about none.

    If Ocean Hammock where a resort community, membership to the Hammock Beach Club would be mandatory. All the vacation rentals being managed by vacation rental pro’s are not entitled to any amenities offered to members of the Hammock Beach Club. They can not get tee times on the golf courses at the Ocean or Conservatory. They do not have access to the pools or fitness center. They can not use Delfinos.

    This certainly does not sound like a resort community to me. They can use the public beach like any resident in Flagler.

  3. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Ronald

    I would be glad to have either you or another spokesperson representing your point of view as a guest on by radio show. Please call me at 386-597-2185 to set up a date.

  4. Jeanette P
    Jeanette P says:

    Unreasonable, I think Not!


    After attending and listening to the County Staff’s presentation, I decided to do my own research. As was mentioned in the presentation, these types of ordinances already exist in cities that had the foresight to get them in place before the deadline date in 2011. So while some parts of the ordinances relating to duration and frequency cannot be applied to any new ordinances today, much of the work has already been done. Dania Beach and Lauderdale by the Sea have been enforcing these ordinances successfully since 2011 or earlier. Google their town codes and read the section relating to Short term rentals (I did try to include the links but this blog would not accept them.) If you take the time to read them you will see that the Flagler County Ordinance is closely patterned after them. It seems to be working in these towns and others. Many of the comments in previous posts regarding occupancy limits, rental agent requirements , parking etc, imply that what was written by Flagler County Staff was totally unreasonable. Well, not if you read other cities STR codes! Now can there be some tweaks or compromises, of course but overall I think they did a great job.

    Yes, Ocean Hammock was able to pass and put into place some Short Term Rental guidelines, But again your posts never seem to mention that the vote that allowed this is being challenged in court by Mr Milo ,Vacation Rental Pro owner. The outcome is yet to be determined. We as residents of Flagler County need County Ordinances that address the over crowding and safety issues that is still occurring in our communities and others despite the Ocean Hammock amendments. It is very easy to not pay a fine or pay a fine and continue a behavior as many of these STR are doing. But with this Ordinance the County could ultimately suspend their right to rent the house for various periods of time if they do not comply. This would have a greater effect on compliance than any monetary fine!

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply