Monday, April 4, 2011

Rick Scott and the Gordian Knot

Key West, like the rest of Florida and most of the US, is faced with a large number of mortgage foreclosures and unsold properties due to the bursting of the real estate bubble and related problems.

So the legislature of that state of fun and sun has come up with a unique solution: override any and all local zoning laws regulating use of residential properties as transient rental units.

This bill will allow investors to turn previous residential properties into mini hotels, and presumably will correct Florida's glut of unsold and foreclosed units.

Before you jump on the property rights bandwagon, consider that Key
West is an island roughly one by four miles, located over a hundred miles from the mainland, that they need adequate housing for middle and working class families, and that a great percentage of their housing stock is already designated for transient use.

UPDATE: 'House bill 883 - dealing with transient rental regulations - was amended in the House Economic Affairs Committee to specifically grandfather in all local ordinances and regulations adopted prior to June 1, 2011. After being amended, the committee approved the bill on a 7-3 vote.'
This action, if reported correctly, will take the pressure off local communities for a while, but make no mistake: there is so much short-range money to be made here, that this bill will come back in another form.

Herewith some of the commentary from locals on the impending changes:

A bill that's winding its way through the state Legislature would end Florida Keys governments' authority to regulate transient rentals, allowing property owners to rent their homes by the day, week,...

Talk with the people that will be adversely affected by this ruling. The ones now renting the small apartments in town and barely making enough to get by, but love Key West too much to leave. We're talking Conchs and non-Conchs. The ones doing the $10-$15 an hour jobs. They're worried about their "homes" being turned into transient rentals and they'll be forced to leave. Some people will say who cares about them, or if they need more money get a better job, or maybe why don't they start their own business. They're in the economic situation that best suits them at this time in their lives and don't have all those options. Folks when these people leave if you thought the service in this town was bad before, you ain't seen nothin yet.

Congratulations Floridians! Another helpful bill from the GOP and Rick "I take the fifth" Scott. Another step toward the destruction of any middle class in Monroe County. These people claim they want Government out of our lives and stand for local rule, but they are passing a law that will prevent local communities from doing what they want in terms of zoning and regulation. Surely our State Capital knows what is best for the people living in Monroe County. If Obama's administration had passed this at the Federal Level, people would be screaming for States Rights and against Mandates. I guess it is OK to stick Government into my life when it is Scott and his band of merry thieves writing the laws. The only people who think this would be good are speculators and people who own multiple homes. They bought these homes fully aware of the rules, but that will not stop them from babbling about property rights. No one wants to live next to a transient rental home. No one.

One day, two days, one week, two weeks and no transient license required? Hmmm....who is going to regulate the occupancy taxes? Or the required rental agreements. We just had a spring breaker DIE in a rental property. I wonder just how many kids were renting that unit and if any were of legal drinking age. Word on the street says there is more to that story. I can see the lawyers like vultures waiting for their next prey if this bill passes. I also smell lawsuits - how many more injured or dead tourists does Key West want? Do you want to live in the neighborhood where every day different people come and go as they want, partying all hours of the day, wrecking your property values in the process? Say hello Key West to more crime and problems than you can imagine!

The realtors will be happy about this, but the quality of life in the Keys; such as it is, will be even lower. It will be a rental free for all. No wonder the Keys is losing population. You'll be living next to a place being rented out by the latest Keys real estate genius who thinks he'll be a millionaire because he bought a house here.

We must be proactive and be sure Saunders and other
representatives KNOW that this must be stopped. It will really ruin our neighborhoods and will take away rentals from local workers. It will harm the legitimate, legal lodging facilities. And it will take away from the tax base. This is a losing proposition at every angle.

Sounds like another of Slick Ricks favors for his business supporters. take away a good regulation that helps the neighborhoods live in piece and quiet for some greedy MF to make a quick buck. If this does pass then the neighbors will have to be vigilant about calling the police when there is too much noise and making sure the laws regarding noise are enforced. One thing one might also consider if this bill passes and someone ends ups with people renting next to their home and causing loss of piece and quiet after hours is to get some speakers and place outside or in your windows and blare some very loud music starting at about 8am when those partiers are trying to sleep during the day. Rick Scott is going to destroy our state and make it so only the very wealthy have a say in the way things are.

I don't like short term transient rentals; I live next to one and the noise, arg. It is annoying to the residents who live here year round ( now it is quiet; thank god spring breakers are gone-college kids). Residential neighborhoods are quiet and peaceful, we don't want some rowdy people move in for a couple of days or a week and disrupt everything by partying all hours of the night and have no consideration for others. I would not want to end Florida Keys governments' authority to regulate transient rentals, allowing property owners to rent homes, condos town houses for the day or two or a week. JUST SAY NO! to the bill that would allow this.

Those of us who are paying our own way and purchased property with the expectation of living in a residential neighborhood have no sympathy for the ones whining about how they need to destroy our neighborhoods so that they can make a buck. And, obviously, if they intend to rent their property short term, they will not even be around to share the hardship this would create.

Just wondering if any of you people who support this have ever lived next door to a transient rental home and had your kids waken up almost every night by people partying from morning to night. My guess is of course not. Property Right always seem to end when the advocate is impacted. How about if I put a pig farm next door to your house? It might help if you take some time to think about your neighbors and those of us trying to raise families in this town. Wanting your kids to be able to sleep does not make you a "gotminer!". I hope Karma visits on those of you who are nasty and you end up with your neighbor illegally renting. Lets see how fast you change your tune.

Modern day Libertarians, Teabaggers, and just plain conservatives tend to forget that zoning was originally a middle-class intitiative, aimed at protecting neighborhood values. There is a place for hotel type units, just as there is a place for machine shops and pig farms. On a one by four mile island strict zoning makes sense. This "cure" is very likely to kill the patient.

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