Florida Sunshine law requires discussing all business items in public. Hence, a councilor’s only opportunity to talk to one another is at a public meeting. Once the hour and half of public comment was over, I was recognized by the Chair to speak. For some reason the audience took it’s frustration out on me, by constantly interrupting. It became clear to me that there was no way I could have a constructive dialog with my fellow councilors, so I ceded my time.
I was attempting to propose a simple solution to register all short term rental units and exempt condos from inspections, record keeping etc. To accomplish this, I would have used the city’s existing personnel and software.
The city currently issues zoning certificates to businesses on Marco. Information collected are names, address, phone numbers, contact person, etc. Each year the city renews the forms asking for any updates. The way I envisioned the system working was that all short term rental owners (homes & condos) would fill out the form. On the form the city would add a check off box that would say something like “This rental unit is governed by condominium, HOA and/or coop rules. Therefore, I chose an exception from the Marco rental ordinance 2015.”
This solution would accomplish three goals:
1) It would be the business owners (rental properties) responsibility to register.
2) the city would have the owners contact information and know where all rental properties are located. This information is critical in case of an emergency (hurricane) since the city needs to get these properties evacuated first.
3) properties, which are not subject to association governing documents would get safety inspections, capacity limits and written city rules.
At the next council meeting (May 18), I will bring up this issue in an attempt to get a workable rental ordinance.
Kenneth E. Honecker, Marco Island City Councilor