Redington Beach to let voters have their say on vacation rentals | Beaches
REDINGTON BEACH — As the city awaits the results of a March 15 municipal referendum on whether voters want to allow short-term rentals, several residents have come to City Hall to voice their opinions on the question.
During the public forum portion of the Feb. 4 meeting, Mayor David Will noted “we have two camps with short-term rentals; we have for and against.
Will explained that Redington Beach has always been a residential community. “We’ve had a short-term rental order for as long as I can remember,” he said. “As soon as short-term rental, AirBnB, became a thing, we started having problems in town. We started enforcing our ordinance. We started facing legal challenges. We’ve been fighting it ever since.
“Just recently a judge ruled that our order required a referendum, so we appealed that decision. In the meantime, because our citizens demand it, we are holding a referendum on short-term rentals on March 15. We will now see what our residents think about short-term rentals,” he said.
The city’s appeal against the judge’s decision will be heard in three or four months.
“The referendum is a yes or no question,” Will said. “Do you support the ordinance prohibiting short-term rentals? Yes or no?”
City Attorney Rob Eschenfelder noted that the ordinance in question is not new. It was adopted in 2008.
“It’s been on the books ever since, so anyone buying land or property in the city, or inheriting property in the city, would understand that renting your property for less than 181 days is prohibited,” a- he declared.
“Really, the only question that arose was whether a referendum should have been held,” he added. “We don’t believe he should have and it’s on appeal. To appease the court, if there needs to be one, that’s why we organize the referendum.
At the public forum, resident Ellen Harvey thanked those who want to get rid of short-term rentals.
“I’ve been living next door to a short-term rental for several years now and it’s been a nightmare,” she said. “They have weddings, they’ve had dinner parties with 40 people, they have baby showers, they park on my property, it’s noisy all night, constant noise… It’s just a nightmare.
“Nobody pays $1,000 a night to read a book in the garden,” she told the commissioners. “Even when they have families, the children jump in the swimming pool all the time, the grandparents have coffee and cigarettes, the others are near the hearth… That’s enough. The owners are not responding, so what should I do? Any help you can provide is really appreciated.
Speaking in favor of short-term rentals, resident Rick Dandino told the commission: “I’ve been in the rental business for 37 years and some of the best tenants, guests, I’ve ever had were in the short-term rentals.”
Regarding Harvey’s statement, “I listened to her talk about the problems she has; I never had these problems,” he said. “I own two short-term rentals in town here and visit them every day, and I don’t have those issues. I’m not a cheap $99 a night place. When people want to party , they ask, and I say, ‘No, it’s not that kind of place.’
He added: “I can sympathize with the problem the woman who spoke is having. I wouldn’t want it next door. But I have an AirBnb next to my place where I live, it’s not mine and we don’t have these issues.
Vehicle Signage Regulations Amended
Will noted that the city had to change its vehicle sign ordinance “due to a new state law that says we can’t regulate what’s on a sign.” So, in keeping with our tradition of banning commercial signs, we can now regulate the size of the sign, which this ordinance does.
Eschenfelder said the code was originally written to prevent people from having a large advertising sign adorning a vehicle and parking it somewhere, but it didn’t meet the city’s main goal, which prevents people to park commercially wrapped signs on vehicles in neighborhoods overnight.
The old ordinance prohibited vehicles from displaying within 100 feet of a street or right-of-way, when parked for more than two consecutive hours in a 24-hour period.
The new ordinance now only prohibits the parking of a commercial vehicle visible from a street or right-of-way from sunset to sunrise.
“One of the main things we did was reduce the size (of the commercial message) from 10 square feet to 1 ½ square feet, so people could still have bumper stickers,” Will explained. . He added that it’s really a broader issue of visual burn control.
“This still being a residential town, we don’t want to see commercial vehicles here overnight,” he said. “During the day you’ll have plumbers and things in town, but from sunset to sunrise, no utility vehicles.”
Resident Leslie Wilkins asked how the city would differentiate someone driving their utility vehicle home.
“You have to put it in a garage where it can be seen,” advised the mayor.
The modification of the ordinance was adopted unanimously.