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Panel discusses rental restrictions for land development code

By Staff | Apr 28, 2010

The Captiva Community Panel held a special meeting on Tuesday to gather input from the community about rental restrictions in the land development code.

At the panel’s regular meeting earlier this month, questions arose as to a section of the code (33-564) which states that “other dwelling units on the island may be rented by a single renter or lessee for a minimum period of seven days and may not be occupied by another renter or lessee until a period of seven days has expired.”

Many residents expressed a concern about Captiva turning into Fort Myers Beach – a vacation destination bogged down with heavy traffic and activity – if rental agencies or homeowners allow multiple renters to rent within a period of seven days.

“It makes us sound elitist to say we don’t want renters in our neighborhood, but it’s not that. This is our home and our community. We need to hear people’s opinions and we need to make a decision,” said panel president Sandy Silverglide.

Captiva resident Mike Mullins disagreed.

“I think there is a disparaging of renters. A lot of anecdotal information is being shared without any substantive information, one of which is that the the community has changed drastically over time and has become a more rental-intensive community,” he said, noting that on his own time, he went to the department of revenue and procured statistics from the last 10 years concerning revenues and rental taxes on Captiva. He discovered that the only difference between now and 10 years ago is about one percent in rental taxes.

But panel member Nathalie Pyle disagreed with Mullins.

“There is no question that in 10 years, our neighborhood of 50 properties has become more of a rental community. I would say by about two-thirds,” Pyle said. “I don’t have a problem if someone takes advantage of an opportunity to rent a property for two or three days if there isn’t a weekly patron available. My issue is that I don’t want to see a house turning over multiple times in a period of one week – for all the same reasons that people have been mentioning, like density and increased traffic and activity.”

Pyle motioned to remove section 33-564 from the draft. Panel member Dave Jensen, who felt that the draft was not ready to be submitted for survey in the community, seconded the motion, which carried with only Harry Silverglide dissenting.

“I’m much more interested in what the community has to say. What landowners and residents and people that rent out their property have to say. I am interested in hearing what people that make money off renting their property have to say, but I’m much more interested in hearing what people feel the character of the island and quality of life are going to evolve into over the next five or 10 years,” Silverglide said.

Ultimately, the panel decided to discuss the matter further at a future panel meeting.

“We do need to address this and make this an agenda item. I think this was a good meeting and everyone was able to voice their opinion, and I appreciate you all being here,” president Silverglide said.

Before adjourning, Harry Silverglide asked Randy Bacik of Royal Shell Vacations to attend the next panel meeting with suggestions regarding “professional behavior and rules of engagement for the island.” Silverglide suggested that Bacik reach out to any and all owners and rental agencies for advice and ideas in order to compile a list of guidelines about how to rent your home and how guests should behave while they’re renting.

The Captiva Community Panel will hold their next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 11 at 9 a.m. in the Wakefield Room at ‘Tween Waters Inn, 15951 Captiva Drive.

For more information and to view drafts of the land development code, visit the panel’s website, www.CaptivaCommunityPanel.com.