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Cape Council to discuss proposed vacation rental legislation

By Staff | Jan 30, 2020

Cape Coral City Council will discuss on Monday a bill that is being considered in the State House that could change the way short-term rentals are regulated.

City staff plans to present an update on proposed House Bill 1011, which relates to vacation rentals. If approved, the new law would give the regulation of short-term rentals, including licensure and inspections, to the state.

According to an analysis conducted in 2017, there are more than 3,000 rentals properties in the city

Currently the city’s land use regulations do not allow rentals for periods of less than seven days. An ordinance in 2017 to address many of these issues was shot down by city council.

Councilmember John Carioscia said this is the third or fourth time the city has addressed registering rentals and that those watching the meeting will know as much as council when staff addresses the issue.

“At the time, staff told us state statutes limited us, although we had a grandfather clause, that would have been voided if we changed it,” Carioscia said. “We left it at that.”

In a memo from City Manager John Szerlag, Council was told the Florida League of Cities opposes the bill. The league says the bill would undo local registrations adopted since 2014, must make ordinances uniform for all residential properties, clarifies that local regulations cannot prohibit all rentals, imposes occupancy limits or require inspections, that it is a local zoning issue, and that everyone’s property rights should be equal.

The league also says short-term rentals are overtaking residential neighborhoods, creating a safety risk since people don’t know who is next door, and that this is causing a drain on law enforcement when such things could be handled by code enforcement. It also maintains that unregulated short-term rentals make the affordable housing crisis worse and that 7 in 10 voters say local rules should govern rentals.

“Ultimately, what is the definition of short term? Is it under 30, under 60, seven, weekend, overnight? We’re going to get all that,” Carioscia said.

Council also is expected to consider amending the charter to change the date of primary elections to be held on the Tuesday 11 weeks before the general election and will consider an ordinance that would implement a conclusive and rebuttal cancer presumption to the firefighter pension, and another to increase the maximum pension.

It will also consider an ordinance and a companion resolution regarding outstanding Gas Tax Revenue Bonds so the city can save money on debt service.

The meeting is at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.