Florida State Representative Mike Larosa
Florida State Senator Greg Steube
AFTER MONTHS OF WRANGLING, ON JUNE 21, 2016, INDIAN RIVER COUNTY ADOPTED AND INITIATED REGULATIONS FOR SHORT TERM RENTALS. BUT TWO PENDING COMPANION LEGISLATIVE BILLS WOULD NULLIFY THOSE REGULATIONS.
Florida State Representative Mike Larose and State Senator Greg Steube have introduced companion bills, now in committees (HB-425 & SB 188), relating to Florida vacation rentals that: “A local law, ordinance, or regulation may not restrict the use of vacation rentals, prohibit vacation rentals or regulate vacation rentals based solely on their classification, use or occupancy. This paragraph does not apply to any local law, ordinance or regulation adopted on or before June 1, 2011.”
On March 28, 2017 a Florida House subcommittee voted 9-6 to approve Representative Larosa’s bill that would all but erase local governments’ authority to regulate vacation rentals. It was the second House committee to advance the bill, which has also won approval by a Senate committee, pointing to growing momentum for a measure that would have considerable impact in Indian River County.
According to http://www.flaglerlive.com, “The House bill, HB425, has one more stop—before the Commerce Committee–before heading to the House floor. The Senate version, SB188, has two more committee stops: before the Community Affairs Committee, likely later this week or next week, then the Rules Committee. The bill may be killed at any one of those stops, though from the looks of the votes, that’s becoming increasingly unlikely.”
There has been a parade of local government public officials opposed to these two bills appearing before the State Senate an House committees expressing their opposition. But in watching the hearings, no one from Indian River County has appeared to voice their opposition.
The parade of opponents include the Florida Association of Counties, Florida League of Cities, Flagler County, the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, and the cities of Bradenton Beach, Daytona Beach, Holmes Beach and Lake Worth.
The city of Anna Maria, with a 2014 population of 1,626 hired Lobbyist Chip Case, at a cost of $ 25,000 to assist the city in its attempt to defeat the vacation rental bill filed by Senator Stuebe.
The city of Holmes Beach, with a 2013 population of 4,053 also hired a lobbyist, Cari Roth of Dean Mead & Dunbar in Tallahassee to provide “opposition to legislation that would further restrict local governments’ ability to regulate vacation rentals.” (Source: http://www.islander.org)
Indian River County’s population in 2013 was 141,994.
Kerri McNulty, an assistant city attorney for Miami, said that: “We view it as an attack on home rule. (Emphasis added) We are being inundated with calls from our residential neighborhoods who are complaining about these short term rentals which are essentially businesses…We need to be able to regulate them.”
Over the weekend of March 25/26 State Representative Paul Renner spent nearly two hours..working to hash out a plan to stop HB-425 in its tracks. On Saturday night he stood before a crowd of nearly 150 coastal Flagler County residents and local officials that filled the Hammock Community Center during a town hall meeting plotting an opposition strategy to stop the legislation. (Source: http://www.news-journalonline.com)
Anna Marie opponent Ruth Uecker told lawmakers: “We do not want to overly regulate usage or property rights, but we do want to retain the tools we have to solve local problems.”
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, said the rentals bill is one of a number of examples of the Republican Legislature’s contempt for home rule.
“Its an all-out assault on local government and our ability to self-govern,” Buckhhorn said, “and this is coming from the same people who say the government that’s closest to the people is the most effective. That would be us.”
So where is Indian River County’s opposition on this issue? Maybe the County Commissioner’s would just as soon have their short term rental regulations nullified.
Palm Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado held a joint event March 20 at Miami City Hall to discuss community concerns with Airbnb. The mayors want to make local rules regarding short-term vacation rentals. (Source: Miami Times)