Pensacola City Councilman Charles Bare wants to take a closer look at vacation rentals in the city.
Bare is asking the council to hold a workshop to discuss short-term rentals in the city and see what fellow council members think of any enacting regulations around the business.
“One of the things I committed to during this campaign was that I was going to pursue this in doing a workshop and at least get the Council to talk about it,” Bare told the News Journal on Friday.
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Short-term rentals, referred to under Florida law as vacation rentals, are rental units available on websites like Airbnb and VRBO. Some are often second homes rented out for extra income, while other owners may own multiple units and run a full-time rental business.
Bare, who won election to the Council in November, said he’s spoken with several neighborhood groups who are concerned about short-term rentals and compliance with existing city ordinances such as parking in yards or leaving garbage cans on the street.
Florida law prevents municipalities from banning vacation rentals or regulating the required length of stay, but cities can pass regulating the rentals as businesses.
Bare noted that the city of Hollywood, Florida, passed new regulations recently on vacation rentals.
Hollywood’s regulations require each owner to obtain a vacation rental license, and last year added the requirement that vacation rental owners had to install noise detection devices at their property. The regulations also limit parking and require additional trash containers.
Bare said he felt most vacation rental owners are good neighbors, and only a few cause problems.
“I’m not saying we need to do that,” Bare said. “I just want to get the discussion out there and give the neighborhoods a chance to talk about it and my fellow council members and the mayor.”
Other council members told the News Journal they agreed it was an issue that needed to be addressed.
“I think that probably every council member has gotten at least some complaints and fears over short-term rentals taking over neighborhoods, and so they no longer feel like family neighborhoods,” Councilwoman Jennifer Brahier said.
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Brahier said she understands there are limits to what the city can do under Florida law.
“I think that we do owe it to ourselves to get a nice comprehensive view of what we could and should do so that our neighborhoods continue to feel family-friendly,” Brahier said.
Councilman Jared Moore said he gets a lot of calls from constituents about vacation rentals and thinks holding a workshop is a good idea.
“There’s obviously a lot of layers to that one with the state law that’s in place,” Moore said. “So, it’s not as clear and cut and dry as far as what kind of regulation we could look at. And it’s a complex context, but I think it’s worth taking a closer look at.”
Councilwoman Teniadé Broughton also supports the idea of having a workshop and wants to hear what Bare is proposing.
“I know we don’t want to do anything to violate anyone’s access to a free market, but I also believe that we should keep in mind that it can’t be a free for all,” Broughton said. “We need regular working folks to be able to access housing.”
The City Council will vote Thursday on whether to have a workshop on the issue.
Bare said the workshop would likely be scheduled to take place in March.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: vacation rental workshop as Airbnb footprint grows” class=”link “>Pensacola may set vacation rental workshop as Airbnb footprint grows
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