Florida Legislature may take up local control of vacation rentals

skennedy@bradenton.comJanuary 27, 2014 

State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, speaks at a Manatee Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast Monday morning. PHOTO BY SARA KENNEDY/Bradenton Herald

BRADENTON -- Legislation that would return control of vacation rental properties to local communities, reversing a law passed in 2011 that stripped local governments of their ability to regulate such properties, may find support in the Florida Legislature, a lawmaker said Monday.

"I think it has momentum,” said state Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, about a bill slated for consideration when lawmakers meet in March that would either repeal or modify how vacation rentals are regulated.

Beach communities have been inundated with oversized mini-hotels in residential neighborhoods that local officials no longer are permitted to regulate.

The huge structures have triggered complaints about noise, parking and destruction of the laid-back vibe that brings tourists here in the first place.

"I have always been pro-tourist and pro-business, but I'm also pro-community," Holmes Beach Mayor Carlo Monti said Monday during a Manatee Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast.

He wanted to know whether legislators would provide relief this year.

A bill to repeal or modify the 2011 law has leadership support in the in state Senate, "but the House will be more of a discussion as it relates to property rights," Steube told the mayor.

Steube said he was concerned about disturbing the rights of private property owners who have invested in vacation rentals, but did not say whether he would support or oppose a bill that would return regulatory powers to local communities.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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