Islanders will vote on short-term rentals

Will Watts
Many cities are looking to create ordinances to regulate short-term rentals, which allow owners to rent out a furnished home, apartment or condominium for a short-term stay.

The ongoing question of how to deal with short-term rentals was back on the City Council agenda June 7. Back in January, Councilor Rich Blonna suggested that council consider adapting Collier County’s ordinance and tailoring it for the island. “I would like to turn the Collier County ordinance to staff to tweak specifically for Marco Island,” he said.

“This is an issue that seemingly will not go away,” said Councilor Eric Brechnitz, then.

“Procedurally, we are prohibited from doing anything on this now,” said Vice Chair Jared Grifoni during that meeting, since not enough time has elapsed since the last time council dealt with it. City Attorney Alan Gabriel said there are ways the council could get around that.

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Despite community worries, like Russ Colombo wrote about in a letter to the editor: “festive vacationers tend to transform family neighborhoods into kaleidoscopes of loud, peace-disturbing merrymakings,” Councilor Becky Irwin’s opinion in the June meeting was that Marco Island does not have many of the problems that these rentals attract, like crime and noise complaints.

During June’s meeting, city leaders discussed the request to place a referendum on the August ballot concerning the creation of a rental registration ordinance. The proposal would require all short-term rental properties to be registered and inspected by the city and meet certain standards of safety.

In the end, City Council voted 4-3 in favor of placing the ordinance on the ballot for the voters to decide.

Brechnitz, Greg Folley, Claire Babrowski and Joe Rola voted in favor of the initiative. Jared Grifoni, Blonna and Becky Irwin opposed.

It will now appear on the August ballot.

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