Redington Beach Leaders Say NO To Rental Ordinance

Dated: March 1 2016

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Redington Beach Leaders say NO to Rental Ordinance

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By MELVIN BAKER


REDINGTON BEACH – The question of whether to license short-term vacation rentals was quickly answered Feb. 16 when Redington Beach Town Commissioners declined to take further action
on an ordinance that would have regulated private homes rented for short stays.   

Commissioner Fred Steiermann seemed to sum up the feelings of opponents to the proposal, saying at a workshop preceding the regular commission meeting, “I think we can find a better way.”

The issue of how and whether to license homes rented for less than six months had split the commission at a Feb. 2 workshop. Town Attorney Regina Kardash presented the potential rules at the request of Mayor Nick Simons because Florida state law does not allow municipalities to regulate the frequency or duration of the rental of private homes.

Simons and Commissioner Mark Deighton had argued during the Feb. 2 workshop the proposal would license such homes and require them to follow health and safety standards similar to those for hotels and motels. Rental homes that incur violations would incur daily fines and possible loss of their operational license.

Commissioners Steiermann and Tom Dorgan had opposed the proposed ordinance, arguing it would condone a practice the city is trying to eliminate.

Vice Mayor Dave Will was unable to attend the Feb. 2 meeting, so Simons extended the workshop to precede the Feb. 16 commission meeting.

Will had little to say about the proposal at the Feb. 16 meeting, stating only that he was opposed to short-term rentals.

Dorgan and Steiermann reaffirmed their opposition to the ordinance.

“It’s not a good idea for us to take this action,” Dorgan said. “I think we can find a better way to address it,” Steiermann added.

Deighton maintained his stand the ordinance was necessary.

“All of a sudden, everybody in town now has the ability to do a short term rental,” he said. “So we’re not talking about rentals from the people we know, rentals that have been done already, but anybody in this town now can do a short-term rental. So that is what we are really concerned with. From that standpoint, I think we should have something that says to them this is what you can and cannot do.”

Even before commissioners began their discussion, Redington Beach resident Melody Brown addressed them to express her opposition.

“We are a residence, private homes, with families and we don’t need hotels and motels next door to us where we are raising our children,” she said. “And as senior citizens we want to know who is there in the community.”

Brown suggested signs be posted at entrances to the community and other public areas stating short-term rentals were not allowed. Letters should be sent to local rental agents, she added, advising them short-term rentals were prohibited in the town.

Simons recommended the proposal be shelved “if there’s no sense in continuing the discussion, if there’s not a consensus to move forward with it.”

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