Saturday, January 25, 2020

St. Augustine City Commission to consider short-term rental regulations

From former Mayor George R. Gardner's St. Augustine Report:

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Rental regulations on center stage
     The battle between residents concerned about neighborhood erosion and short-term rental property owners seeking extra money to maintain their homes takes center stage Monday night as the City Commission conducts public hearings on a cluster of short-term rental regulation ordinances.
   The regular commission meeting begins at 5 pm in the Alcazar Room at City Hall and is live streamed on CoSA.TV. The public hearings on the three ordinances follows the public comment period at the top of the agenda.
   The regulations developed by a citizen short-term rental committee includes registration, annual inspection, intensity of use, ancillary use, life-safety, parking, solid waste, effects on existing contracts and violations and penalties.   
The three ordinances include:
Regulation of short-term rentals Existing regulations for RS-1 and RS-2 zoning, requiring seven-day short-term rental periods Existing regulations requiring monthly rentals for HP-1 zone and waterways 
   The city's Planning and Zoning Board sent its recommendations to the commission earlier this month.    Its discussion reflected the community split on the matter. Some members spoke of preserving residential neighborhoods while board chair Karen Zander, a real estate agent, described the regulations as "creating homeowner associations."
   In a two-hour discussion at the end of a 7-hour meeting, the planning board recommended:
1. Maximum guests per room: Up to two children per rental be allowed in addition to the maximum two adults that are allowed under the current ordinance.
2. Compact exit lighting: An additional life/safety requirement of "compact exit lights" to mark exits.
3. Parking requirements: "stabilized parking" should be defined. No parking requirement in Historic Preservation zones, where parking is not otherwise required.
4. Water rates: Consider whether vacation rentals use more water than a typical residential property, and if there should be a different rate structure for vacation rentals.

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