During the October 18 Marco Island City Council meeting, the newly designated Assistant City Manager Dr. Casey Lucius reported on the city staff’s work on possible creation of a Registration Program for Short Term Rental (STR) units on the island.

She has been dealing with STR issues on the island since her arrival. The issues surrounding STRs are not unique to Marco Island, and have made news headlines across the nation. This council, as well as councils going back over a dozen years, have been hearing complaints from single family homeowners regarding what they consider to be an invasion of their once quiet neighborhoods.

An issue which continues to be spoken about deals with “deed restrictions,” which are not controlled by the city, but instead, were relegated to the Marco Island Civic Association by the Deltona Corporation prior to Marco Island becoming a city in 1998. Those deed restrictions do not allow “businesses” to be in single family home neighborhoods.

As investors have taken over a large percentage of homes in single family neighborhoods and are collecting taxes and paying both the county and the state tourist tax dollars, they are seen as an invasion of businesses into the once quiet neighborhoods. The other issue that has become a problem is related to the lack of control regarding numbers of occupants, noise, trash and parking.

Presently, the Collier County Tax Collector shows there are 2931 rental units on the island, while the State of Florida shows 1347 rental properties, with 36% shown as condos, 43% as single-family homes and another 21% as “other” based on the Collier County numbers. Dr. Lucas proposed the Rental Registration Ordinance, in part to create a more accurate data base to assist the city in establishing a more accurate list of the actual numbers.

The ordinance itself would apply only to single-family homes, as condominiums have their own registration process and internal controls. The ordinance would include the following:

  • Address of property and proof of ownership.

  • Contact numbers of owners.

  • Emergency contact number.

  • Copy of DBPR License and tax receipts.

  • Statement of adherence to local, state and federal laws.

  • Requirement to post important information inside unit.

  • Penalties for not registering.

  • Registration fee and effective date.

  • Annual inspections as required by law.

She would also give council a list of optional items to consider.

  • Provide interior layout of home.

  • Landline for 911 and Code 3 notifications

  • 30-Day update for changes to the registration documents.

  • Current swimming pool safety standards.

  • Occupancy limit based on numbers of bedrooms or a maximum occupancy capacity.

  • Requirement for one hour response by emergency contact.

  • Requirement for installation of noise meter.

  • Requirement for installation of rental sticker by front door.

There are several bills being prepared to be considered in the upcoming session of the state legislature which could impact the issues concerning the STR debate, one of which, HB 6033 (2022) would return it to local control.

Councilor Brechnitz wasn’t sure what the registration ordinance would solve. “How do we enforce this and what do we do with the information?” he asked.

Councilor Irwin commented that she thought the number was quite small and questioned why we would care if the county or state was getting to collect those taxes due. “That is their problem, not ours,” said Irwin. 

She would go on to say that rentals and tourism are a big business here in Southwest Florida. “Collier County has the third largest number of STRs in the nation. That has a large impact on our businesses,” said Irwin.

Council Chair Grifoni questioned why, if this were passed, that we wouldn’t require all homes be registered. He agreed with Councilors Irwin and Brechnitz and their points, and complained that yearly safety inspections would open a massive “pandora’s box.” He went on to say that he didn’t see any advantage to what was being proposed.

Councilor Folley said he thought it was premature, and that he would want to wait to see how the new noise ordinance might play out. “I wouldn’t mind seeing this come back a little later and with more citizen input in a few months. I don’t want to say we are done with it.”  Folley went on to move that the matter be deferred until the second meeting in January. He originally received a second on his motion from Councilor Brechnitz, but that motion was opposed by Council Chair Grifoni, who questioned the wisdom of doing that without further direction to staff. Brechnitz subsequently withdrew his second to the motion, and the entire issue went silent.



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