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Flagler County Officials Address Senate Committee About Vacation Rentals

By on October 12, 2017 in WNDB News

Flagler County, FL – The Flagler County Administrator and Attorney recently addressed the Senate Community Affairs committee about vacation rentals.

In support of the Florida Association of Counties, Flagler County Administrator Craig Coffey and County Attorney Al Hadeed traveled to Tallahassee to share Flagler County’s solution to dealing with vacation rentals. “I’ve been here 10 years (as Flagler County Administrator) and there have always been vacation rentals,” said Coffey. “It only became a problem after 2011 when property owners’ rights tipped to vacation rentals.”

According to Coffey, having a dozen people renting homes meant for an average of 2.5 people destroys neighbor’s property values. “It got to where they couldn’t sell their homes,” said Coffey. “They could only be marketed as vacation rentals.”

Coffey told the committee that their vacation rental ordinances were approved in February 2015 and amended three times to include perspectives from both sides of the issue. Due to the County’s two code enforcement officers, the ordinance does not regulate vacation rentals, condos, or rentals in rural Flagler County. Where the population is less dense, the issue of noise and multiple cars does not affect other residents.

“We did regulate for safety,” said Coffey. “Smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors. Pool alarms. That’s what we are worried about.”

The Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act affords puts checks and balances on decisions and ordinances that regulate short-term vacation rentals. Last year, it was proposed to have inspections and certifications from all vacation rental properties.

“I don’t want to inspect every house,” said Coffey. “No one wants big government.”

Casey Cook of the Florida League of Cities said Flagler County is “the model” for other municipalities in Florida. “Flagler County held five or six public hearings plus stakeholder’s meetings,” said Cook. “Zoning is about balancing rights. Zoning is fundamentally local.”

Photo courtesy of Mark Winfrey and Shutterstock.com.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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