MARCO ISLAND — Some see short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods as “hotels from hell” next door and others see them as a boost to the Island economy.
The Planning Board may seek to find a compromise between those two views as they meet again Friday morning to create a draft ordinance to allow for short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods while also governing them to protect renters, owners and neighbors.
Karen Salvi, among the unintentional neighbors to a “hotel house,” said she sees the issue as one that should have been addressed when she first reported her problem seven years ago because the frequent resort rental use is illegal in residential neighborhoods.
Two draft ordinance alternatives will be up for discussion Friday. One of them will allow resort rental dwellings as conditional uses in residential neighborhoods. The other will allow resort dwelling rentals as permitted uses.
The difference between conditional and permitted is that conditional requires prior notification for the property’s use to neighbors and the public. Conditional use permits also require approval by the community development director and the permit may be revoked upon repeat violations.
Community Development Director Steve Olmsted has said that he prefers conditional use permits for short-term rentals, which are defined per the current drafts as properties available for lease as frequently as once every seven days or as infrequently as once every 30 days. Olmsted said conditional use permits may allow more protection from abuses because the right to rent short-term can be revoked.
Marco Island has been working on creating an ordinance for more than one year. The first draft was created by a citizens’ ad hoc committee. Since early summer 2008, the Planning Board has been fine tuning the document.
The ordinance being considered will permit short-term rentals in single family residential neighborhoods, which currently are not allowed.
Short-term rentals will likely be required to be registered with the city and inspected by the fire department.
Neighbors to short-term rentals in single family residential areas, such as Cindy Blatt, Salvi, Ken Honecker, Al Bozzo and Peter Zorzi, reported problems at previous meetings including frequent noise, parking and trash violations that constantly reoccur as new renters come in and violate the same rules as their predecessors.
To avoid that recurrence, the ordinance is expected to hold owners responsible if they frequently rent to violators.
Kelly Linman, a landlord on-Island, said “Marco Island police and Code Enforcement already have the necessary tools to hold problem landlords accountable for the repeated violations of their tenants, and they have recently begun to use them.”
Short-term rentals have been perceived as commercial endeavors, which should not be allowed in single family residential neighborhoods.
“When I moved into a single family neighborhood, I expected to live next door to a single family,” Bozzo has said.
Other issues planned for discussion at Friday’s Planning Board meeting are the selection of a consultant and public meeting schedule for the Town Center District Plan and discussion of the city planner position left open by Bryan Milk, who is now the parks and recreation director.
An ordinance amendment on tree pruning, maintenance, planting and removal is also planned for discussion.
The Planning Board meets 9 a.m., Friday, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.