Letters to the Editor, July 19

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Vote ‘no’ on Marco rental ordinance

All citizens of Collier County — you need to be aware of what is happening on Marco Island. A political action committee has been formed and their acronym is C4BM. These activists have banded together with their end goal being to ban vacation rentals on Marco Island. Interestingly Marriott Corporation has recently joined this PAC. What could be their interest? This group has successfully twisted the collective arm of the island’s City Council to put on the upcoming ballot on Aug. 23 a referendum to ban a homeowner’s vested right to rent their homes for less than 30 days at a time. Most Americans get a week or two of vacation — not 30 days in a row. Their major reason for the proposed ordinance (which will restrict rentals and violates Florida law) is “noise.” Yet police records show very few noise complaints and those complaints often end up not being legitimate. Noise is rarely an issue on our quiet Island. And we all know we have an amazing police force on Marco who are ever present to deal with any potential problems.

Everyone should be alarmed by C4BM’s rising influence on Marco’s City Council. If this referendum passes what will be next? Will they ask for a referendum regulating when you can start your boat in the morning? Pet owners — will they next ask for a referendum banning barking dogs? Pool owners — will they next ask for a referendum to limit pool usage to between say 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.? It’s important to be thoughtful about maintaining our freedoms as homeowners and to also think about the potential economic consequences. Do homeowners go on boat tours? Do they buy souvenirs? Do they eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do they need rides to and from the airport? Many of our friends and neighbors work in the real estate industry as property managers, leasing agents, house cleaners, etc. What happens to these people as the industry slows down dramatically?

And sadly, let’s face it, amidst extraordinary inflation and higher energy costs it looks like we are headed into a recession. Is this a good time to discourage friendly, money-spending families from vacationing on Marco? They’ll just go somewhere else. Think of all the local businesses who depend on our strong tourist revenue? How do they manage and survive? If you are a homeowner unsure on how to vote — think about a less robust island economy. Also please consider: 1. Higher property taxes — a lot of money will be required to hire Inspectors as well as staff to process licenses not to mention the army of lawyers that will be necessary to deal with the litigation that will undoubtedly ensue. Who pays for that?

2. Lower property values — given the lost rental income many property owners will no longer be able to afford their homes on Marco. They will be forced to sell into a slowing real estate market with a recession on the horizon.

Collier County voters — please vote on Aug. 23 and vote a resounding NO to this unfair referendum.

Please stand up to C4BM and their corporate backers who are attempting to restrict our freedom to enjoy our beach paradise and homes the way we choose due to some occasional pool noise. Let’s protect our Marco businesses from these draconian measures.

Let’s continue to allow homeowners to make their own choices. We have a great community and Marco is a resort town where property owners have been exercising their vested right to rent or lease for over 60 years.

Now C4BM plans to take that vested right away.

There are other proactive solutions that can be created to make sure everyone has a pleasurable Marco experience — visitors and residents alike.

Bob Jacoby, Marco Island

Vote 'yes' on Marco rental ordinance

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on,” – Winston Churchill Unfortunately, Churchill’s quote is painfully relevant to the current debate about the short-term rental (STR) registration ordinance on Marco Island.

Here are just a few of the many falsehoods: Claim: The STR registration ordinance bans short-term rentals. Reality: FALSE.

Claim: Condos, which have HOA restrictions, will be subject to the ordinance. Reality: FALSE.

Claim: All Marco homeowners will be subject to occupancy limits under the ordinance. Reality: FALSE.

Every single one of these mistruths can be easily debunked by reading the text of the ordinance on the city’s website.

That last claim is an especially egregious attempt designed to mislead voters into thinking that the rental registration ordinance will limit friends and family from staying over at their homes. It is simply not true.

Let’s be clear: this ordinance ONLY applies to rentals of less than 30 days in the single-family districts. It does NOT apply to any single-family home that is not a short-term rental.

Here’s the truth: hundreds of Florida cities and counties have implemented short-term rental registration ordinances. Others, such as the City of Naples, have outright banned short-term rentals in most zoning districts.

Yet these localities haven’t suffered from an erosion of property rights or an economic catastrophe that opponents of the registration ordinance are predicting. Does anyone seriously think that Naples—whose short-term rental ban is inherently more prohibitive than the registration ordinance being discussed on Marco — is some economically depressed shadow of its former self? Of course not.

There’s no doubt there are some great STR operators on Marco who truly care about their neighbors. But the purpose and effect of the ordinance is not to punish these model examples — it is to hold those who are operating in bad faith to the same high standard, and to provide peace to our residents.

All Marco voters should vote YES on the STR registration ordinance.

Hayden Dublois, Marco Island

More:Letters to the Editor, July 15