Is the Indian River County Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee Making any Progress?

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Free Image of Indian River County Short Term Rental Advisory Committee

INSIDEVERO HAS DOGGEDLY BEEN COVERING THE ISSUE OF SHORT-TERM RENTALS IN INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, WHICH, AS OPPOSED TO VERO BEACH, ALLOWS SHORT TERM RENTALS FOR LESS THAN 30 DAYS.

Has there been any progress since the Committee was formed in August 2015?

InsideVero has posted at least five articles on the issue and we could only find one reference to the short-term rental regulations in Monroe County.  Please correct us if we’re wrong, but my recollection is that even before the Committee was formed and committee members selected in May 2015, the County Commissioners directed their staff NOT to study the Monroe County regulations.

The Monroe County regulations are outlined below, but here is some of the interesting chatter on this issue as it has been posted on InsideVero:

On January 17 columnist Milt Thomas reported that the Committee’s meeting on January 15, 2016 was “another sometimes fractious meeting.”  Glen Powell (who has 19 rental properties) was elected Committee Chairman “who gave a 25 minute speech that he called an invocation,” which a reader referred to as a “commercial for himself and his rental properties.”

(There were 26 reader comments to this article.)

Mr. Thomas further wrote that Mr. Powell’s “conduct as Chairman was in sharp contrast to the out-of-control December meeting, where he presided, although unofficially.”

County Administrator Joe Baird, County Attorney Dylan Reingold and Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramer attended the meeting, but a reader commented that they “left the circus after 30 minutes.”

InsideVero publisher Mark Schumann commented that “The County’s Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee is an example of an industry being allowed to regulate itself.”

Another reader, John Church, wrote: “Were there any conclusions reached at this meeting about short-term rentals.”

There was, however, an extensive discussion on whether or not vacation rentals have an impact on property values.

In advance of this January 15 meeting, InsideVero had posted the following broadcast email from the Indian River Neighborhood Association:

“This is the committee which was appointed by the County Commissioners to explore the impacts of short-term rentals and make recommendations to the commissioners on how to fix the multitude of problems these rentals cause. They’ve gotten off track in their last few meetings. They seem to be less focused on our quality of life and public safety and more bogged down with procedure and minutia.”

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Then in another post on January 16, David Hunter, in a Guest Commentary wrote that Mr. Powell “persuaded the Commissioners that” short-term rentals were “helpful to tourism.”

On January 13, InsideVero cited their December 18, 2015 report that on-line rental agents tripping.com and airbnb.com had a combined total of 686 short-term rental listings in Indian River County.

On December 18, 2015 Mr. Thomas, after the Committee’s third meeting, quoted Commissioner Joe Flesher as saying: “I am thoroughly impressed are what they are accomplishing.”

And most recently, on January 21, InsideVero reported that “South Barrier Island residents are asking the City to study the costs and benefits of annexing the unincorporated area of the South Barrier Island into the City of Beach,” which has a regulation against renting a home for less than 30 days.

Here’s our question:

Why hasn’t there been any discussion of Monroe County’s Vacation Rental Permit Regulations and Conditions, as outlined below.  A careful study of these regulations and conditions would be more beneficial than having meetings a reader referred to as a circus.

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MONROE COUNTY

SPECIAL VACATION RENTAL PERMIT REGULATIONS AND CONDITIONS

  1. No more than one motorized watercraft, including a jet ski or wave runner, shall be allowed at each vacation rental unit.  The watercraft may be moored either at an existing on-site docking facility or stored on a trailer in an approved parking place.
  2. Vehicles, watercraft and trailers shall not be placed on the streets or yards.  All vehicles, watercraft and boat trailers must be parked or stored off-street in parking places specifically designated and approved in the special vacation rental permit. One vehicle parking space shall be required per bedroom or efficiency unit and one boat trailer space per vacation rental unit.
  3. No boat docked at a vacation rental property shall be chartered to a person other than registered guests of the vacation rental unit or used for live-aboards, sleeping or overnight accommodations.  In addition, recreation vehicles shall not be used for sleeping or overnight accommodations at the vacation rental unit.
  4. Occupants shall be prohibited from making excessive boisterous noise in or about and residential dwelling unit at all times.  Noise, that is audiable beyond the boundaries of the residential dwelling unit, shall be prohibited between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. weekdays and 11:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on weekends.
  5. All trash and debris on the vacation rental property must be kept in covered trash containers.  Each vacation rental unit must be equipped with at least four covered trash containers for such purpose.  Owners must post, and owners must comply with, all trash and recycling schedules and requirements applicable to the vacation rental unit.  Trash containers must not be placed by the street for pick-up until 6:00 p.m. the night before pick-up and must be removed from the area by the street by 6:00 p.m. the next day.
  6. A tenant’s agreement to the foregoing rules must me made part of each and every lease under F. S. 509.01 for any rental unit subject to the provisions of this section.  These vacation rental regulations governing tenant conduct and use of the rental unit shall be prominently posted within each dwelling unit subject to the provisions of this section along with the warning that violations of this code are subject to fines or punishable as a second degree misdemeanor and is also grounds for immediate termination of the lease and eviction from the leased premises and criminal penalties under F. S. 509.151 (‘Defrauding and In-keeper”), F.S. 509.142 (“Conduct on Premises”), or F. S. 509.143 (Disorderly Conduct on Premises, arrest”).
  7. The owner or agent shall require a lease to be executed with each vacation rental use of the property and maintain a guest and vehicle register listing all vacation occupants names, home addresses, telephone numbers, vehicle license plate and watercraft registration numbers.  Each lease and this register shall be kept by the vacation rental manager and available for inspection by county code enforcement personnel during business hours.
  8. Vacation rental units must be registered, licensed and meet all applicable state requirements contained in F.S. ch. 212 (Florida Tax and Revenue Act) and F.S. ch. 509 (Public Lodging Establishments) as implemented by the Florida Administrative Code, as may be amended.
  9. The vacation rental use must comply with all State of Florida  Department of Health and State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection standards for wastewater treatment and disposal.
  10. All vacation units shall have a vacation rental manager, who has been issued a vacation manager license by the planning department.  The vacation rental manager shall reside within and be licensed for that section of the county (Upper, Middle and Lower Keys) where the vacation rental unit is located and be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for the purpose of of promptly responding to complaints regarding conduct or behavior of vacation rental occupants or alleged violations of this section. Any change in the vacation rental manager shall require written notification to the Planning Department and notification by certified return mail to property owners within 300 feet of the subject dwelling.
  11. Complaints to the vacation rental manager concerning violations by occupants of vacation rental units to this sections shall be responded to within one hour.  The neighbor who made the complaint shall be contacted by telephone or in person and informed as to the results of the actions taken by the manager.  A record shall be kept of the complaint and the manager’s response for a period of at least three months after the incident, which shall be available for inspection by the County Code Enforcement Department during business hours.
  12. The name, address, and telephone number of the vacation rental manager, the telephone number of the County Code Enforcement Department and the number of the special vacation rental permit shall be posted and visible from the front property line of the vacation rental unit.
  13. The tenant’s agreement with the rules of conduct shall be posted in a conspicuous location at each vacation rental unit.
  14. Occupancy of vacation rental unit(s) shall be limited to more more than two (2) individuals per efficiency unit, when rented as a vacation rental unit subject to the provisions of Monroe County Ordinance No. 004-1997.
  15. Review of this permit did not consider the existence of valid private deed restrictions, restrictive covenants or other restrictions of record which may otherwise legally prohibit the use of the dwelling unit for vacation rental purposes.

Violations Warning

Violations of any of the vacation rental regulations consitiutes a violation of Monroe County Code, punishable as Second Degree misdemeanor and is also grounds for immediate termination of the leased premises and criminal penalties under Florida Statutes 509.151 (“Defrauding an In-keeper”).

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2 thoughts on “Is the Indian River County Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee Making any Progress?

  1. You are correct to ask why the Board of County Commissioners has instructed County Staff to NOT investigate applying the Monroe County regulations on control of short term rental to our property owners here in Indian River County. Could it be that these short term rental ‘profiteers’ such as Mr. Glenn Powell, have the ‘ear’ of the Commissioners, and these operators don’t want the cost and inconvenience in running their often unlicensed and unregulated commercial businesses with the modicum of order imposed by these Monroe type ordinances? For the record, I was at the original BCC special call meeting back in 2012 where the Commissioners abandoned the County’s existing regulation restricting transient rentals to ONLY commercial zoned areas, largely at the urging of Mr. Powell and a few other ‘rental operators’ who argued strongly that their business would stimulate tourism in the County. Your readers should go back to that meeting and review the transcript to see what occurred. This was Mr. Powell intentionally misleading our somewhat naïve Commissioners as to the cost/benefit of allowing transient rentals in our residential neighborhoods. They continue to be misled by the currently composed members of the Short Term Vacation Rental Advisory Committee, who’s members are clearly positioned to defend this type of activity and minimize the regulations of it. As an example of how easily folks are mislead, we can only turn to the article written in “32963” by Ray McNulty, who quotes Mr. Powell’s claim that Powell and his committed were responsible for the creation and implementing of the recent County ordinances controlling excessive parking and ‘special events’ at these vacation home venues. This is patently false—Mr. Powell’s committee was not even approved by the BCC until a 3-2 vote on July 14, 2015, and its first meeting did not occur until Sept. 2015. Yet the BCC had instructed–upon urging by Dr. Conway, myself, and IRNA–County staff in Feb 2015 to begin drafting regulations on these two urgent problems created by short term transient rental operators. Per Debbie Carson’s July 14, 2015 report, in veronews.com, entitled “Commission Moves Forward with Short Term Rental Committee”, the IRNA, South Beach Property Owners Assoc, and other civic groups opposed creation of the STVRAC as it would do nothing by slow down and divert efforts to regulate this transient rental business. In that article, Carson says Commissioner O’Bryan said the County is ALREADY working on two regulation on parking and events. So Powell’s claim to Mr. McNulty that his STVRAC was instrumental in passing and implementing the parking and events ordinances is disingenuous at best, and typical of this groups misleading presentation of their intentions and accomplishments. Mr. McNulty, as a seasoned journalist, should have dug deeper rather than just plastering Mr. Powell’s advertising about this issue on the front page, along with photo of Powell’s rental property. And you are right that Mr. Powell used his 25 minute ‘invocation’ at the last STVRAC meeting as an ‘infomercial’ on why the public should support his business, rather than dealing with regulation of it. This was followed by a ‘biased’ pseudo-economic study conducted by County staff from input data provide by the very STVRAC members themselves, showing that this transient rental business generates some tax revenue for the County. It did not conduct a cost/benefit analysis to our community at large in allowing such transient hospitality businesses to operate in the middle of residential areas, as would need to be done if the committee were serious about its work, and not just intent on misleading the public (and perhaps naïve Commissioners) on the merits of this commercial daily and weekly-term rental activity. You are to be commended on keeping the public interest in mind and informing our community of this issue.

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  2. Pingback: “Ya Got Trouble” in the Indian River County South Beach Property Owners Association. Does this have Anything to do with Short-Term Rentals? | Vero Communiqué

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