The Holmes Beach Commission Tuesday will discuss illegal advertising of vacation rentals at a city commission work session.
Officials will also have a first reading and public hearing of its highly-desired moratorium on chain, or “formula,” businesses at a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Holmes Beach City Hall.
“It’s just a matter of clarifying requirements a little bit better that are in the ordinance we wrote some time ago,” said Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson in reference to Ordinance 16-22 on the regulation of vacation rentals.
The discussion on illegal advertising of vacation rentals is set to take place immediately following the regular meeting.
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The city’s comprehensive plan limits the number of overnight occupants of a resort housing unit to six people, or two per bedroom, whichever is greater. According to the ordinance language, its purpose is to establish and enforce standards for vacation rental units in the city’s residential zones “in a manner which protects the residential character and quality of life in the neighborhood where the vacation rental units are located while not unduly restricting the owner of the vacation rental unit from use of the vacation rental property.”
You know a part of the problem here is that people have been owners and rental agencies have been stuffing like 22 people into a six-bedroom house, for instance. That’s an instance.
Holmes Beach Commission Vice Chairwoman Jean Peelen
“You know a part of the problem here is that people have been owners and rental agencies have been stuffing like 22 people into a six-bedroom house, for instance. That’s an instance,” Holmes Beach Commission Vice Chairwoman Jean Peelen said. “But you can go on Airbnb and VRBO.com, where everybody advertises and what you’ll see if you go to ‘Holmes Beach’ are houses with a number they say that can sleep there which is far higher than two persons per bedroom. Our comp plan for the city has always said two people per bedroom. Our ordinance has always said it, but we haven’t been very good at enforcing it. We mostly didn’t have to until these big vacation rentals came along.”
Peelen said commissioners want to make clear the occupancy requirements for those looking to rent a vacation rental unit in Holmes Beach.
“It currently requires that they (those renting out vacation rental units) get approved by us as a rental and that they advertise how many people their house can legally hold,” she added. “The concern was that it wasn’t quite clear... if they have five bedrooms, they have to say ten people.”
As for the moratorium on chain businesses, Mayor Johnson said its effective date would be June 14, which is when the commission voted unanimously to pursue it. The period of the moratorium is eight months.
Plans earlier this year for a new Baskin Robbins-Dunkin Donuts in Holmes Beach caused great worry among some island business owners and officials, spurring conversations on the possible regulation of formula businesses.
Judy Owens, who owns Cupcake Delights at 3324 East Bay Drive in the same plaza, told the Herald in May that franchises like Baskin Robbins-Dunkin Donuts change the landscape of the island.
“We need our Publix and our Walgreens and that kind of stuff, but when it comes to just that kind of franchise, I think it kind of hurts it,” she said at the time. “People come to the island because they want the uniqueness and the ‘Old Florida’ feel, and when you start popping those up all over then ... I think it’s just going to open the door for other franchises.”