What do other County lawyers and organizations say about changing our zoning code?
In 2015, the Florida Association of County Attorneys produced an educational packet about Short-term Rentals.
It is the “overwhelming consensus of local government attorneys that any amendment will forfeit grandfathered status…There is no effective way to test survival of the regulatory ordinance, either before or after an amendment, by a declaratory judgment. And an AG Opinion provides small comfort. There is no safe harbor. Grandfathered ordinances are therefore frozen.”
The attached packet provides background on the 2011 Fla. Stat. § 509.032(7) and 2014 FS 509.032(7)(b) which had the following consequences:
- No restriction on use or any prohibition of vacation rentals, and no treatment of them based on their classification, use or occupancy.
- If a community wanted to regulate them, they would essentially have to fall under a program that regulated all types of rentals, e.g., landlord licensing programs.
- No mandatory inspections of vacation rentals by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (“DBPR”) for compliance with state regulatory requirements. See, Fla. Stat. § 509.032(2)(a). (“Whereas” implications)
- DBPR regulations allowed up to 75 homes to be on one collective license and to be indexed under only the first named property location. (“Whereas” implications.)
- The occupancy limit was one person for 150 gross square feet. Twenty visitors could occupy a 3,000 square foot house and the square footage could be computed by including enclosed garages or other spaces. Rooms were converted into bedrooms, some without permits and without meeting Life Safety requirements. (“Whereas” implications.)
Due to these legislative changes, the following outcomes were observed:
- The preemption allowed investors and investment groups to purchase property to convert them into vacation rentals. The greatest impact was on single family neighborhoods.
- Incompatibilities with single family neighborhoods include nuisances (excessive trash and noise), blocking emergency ingress and egress, backed up traffic at entry gates, and constant turnover of occupants, materially affecting the character of the neighborhood.
- Occupancies for these establishments skyrocketed. Some became mini-hotels.
According to the legal findings in this educational packet from the Association of County Attorneys, it is of great concern that amending Brevard County’s zoning ordinances will result in the loss of our 2011 pre-exemptions.
Read the packet in its entirety:
In 2020, the Florida League of Cities published background information about the effect of short-term rentals on Florida cities.
“Cities without short-term rental regulations in place prior to June 1, 2011, have had their zoning authority stripped and are now seeing these rentals completely overtaking residential neighborhoods. Long-time residents are moving out as a result, and the residential character of traditional neighborhoods is slowly being destroyed.”
In addition, the document below declares that numerous public hearings should be held before ANY zoning amendments should occur.
Recognizing that the ordinances on the books are no longer effective, cities want the ability to come up with solutions that work for their respective community, but because of the potential loss of the “grandfather,” they are unable to do so. It is important to note that any potential amendments to existing ordinances would be vetted through numerous public hearings that allow neighboring homeowners, short-term rental owners, property managers and local businesses to weigh in on proposed legislation.
Read the packet in its entirety:
Our commissioners have scheduled 2 Advisory Committee Hearings – one held the week of Thanksgiving – and a Public Hearing on December 8, 2020. If the zoning amendment is passed on December 8, it will be signed into code on December 22 – Christmas week!
It is egregious that our County Commissioners are trying to sneak such consequential legislation – against the recommendation of the Florida Association of County Attorneys and the Florida League of Cities – during the holiday weeks of 2020, during a global pandemic!
Please help us fight this terrible legislation which will likely remove ALL our existing exemptions and result in out-of-state corporate-owned daily vacation rentals in our quiet family neighborhoods that have had 90-day rental minimums since at least 2006. This is a power grab by corporate investors and moneyed interests who will buy up our family neighborhoods for profit and destroy our quality of life.