Not since the issue of sewers were in front of city council has there been a hot button issue like the Rental Ordinance. An outpouring of letters and emails were lining every editor’s inbox, as well as those of City Council and the City Manager. There were lengthy sessions of public comment at council meetings. So, what is the big deal?
In May, the City Council adopted a new rental ordinance. Critics of the ordinance felt it was an overreach of government control and that present laws were sufficient and just needed to be enforced. Another point of concern for many was the inclusion of condominiums which are already governed by condo associations. While others, including the Marco Island Property Owners board, supported the rental law saying there was an overwhelming amount of evidence the present laws weren’t enough, citing the need to protect the quality of life that was being disrupted by unruly rental practices.
An action committee was formed to fight the ordinance from going into effect and a petition was circulated. Only 10% of registered voters needed to sign the petition and almost 1,100 more signatures than required were collected, a total of 2,388. The Collier County Supervisor of Elections office certified and presented the petition signatures back to the City Clerk, Laura Litzan.
The ordinance was to go into effect July 1st. However, council doesn’t meet again until July 20th. Will they rewrite it, put it up for referendum or drop it all together? According to Paul Tateo, member of the action committee that presented the petition, “The petition allowed for two options, repeal or referendum. We will have to wait to see what council does.”