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Cape joins opposition to state takeover of vacation rentals regulation authority

By Staff | Feb 4, 2020

The city of Cape Coral will join the fight for the right of local government to impose their own rules regarding rental properties.

Vince Cautero, community development director, presented the Cape Coral City Council Monday with 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.

“The Florida League of Cities believe that’s inappropriate because it further intrudes on home rule authority,” Cautero said. “Any ordinance regarding those requirements adopted after 2014 would be null and void.”

Cautero sought a consensus from council on whether to make this a priority for the city’s lobbyists in Tallahassee.

Mayor Joe Coviello said he would definitely like to take on the fight.

“Home rule has been under attack for two years and this is another onslaught into that. I would support our lobbyists to not allow the state to regulate vacation rentals,” Coviello said. “We want to maintain the ability here in the city to be able to make the best decisions here.”

There was some comment during citizens input that agreed with the mayor. One resident, who moved to Cape Coral in 2008, said she has had constant interruptions from one rental in particular, with large numbers of people and loud children being among the disturbance makers.

Councilmember Rick Williams said he was going to Tallahassee next week to fight for home rule, which he said has been under attack especially this year.

“It’s really bad this year and attacking us in many different directions. We’ll do the best we can to get them to reconsider what they’re doing,” Williams said.

In other business, Council voted to table a consent agenda item regarding an approval of procurement for security measures and equipment at City Hall.

Coviello said he didn’t see any reason why sending out a Requests For Proposal for computers and software would be detrimental to the process.

“Why all of the sudden is it so urgent that we waive the process after we had a shade meeting on it several months ago?” Coviello asked Police Chief Dave Newlan.

Newlan said there was a recommendation to change the process to implement entry into City Hall through the main entrance.

Coviello requested the item be pulled and to have another shade meeting, or closed door session, to find out what the city is spending its money on before waiving the process.

Council also approved the ratification of an agreement between the city and the IAFF to give .25 percent raise to its workers from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2021.