Monday, December 6, 2021

Guest Commentary by Joseph Rola

In a recent Coastal Breeze Op Ed, the author made a statement, “supporting the RIGHT of home owners to use their property for Short Term Rentals”. The real truth is straight forward and spans at least 25 years of Marco Island history. There is NO RIGHT for a property owner to RENT a residence, whether short or long term, except in the Residential Tourist (RT) zoned district. That is the ONLY district that supports a residential RENTAL USE by RIGHT. Residential Single Family Home (RSF) neighborhoods do NOT ALLOW rentals of any kind as a USE by RIGHT. In fact, no form of commercial activity is allowed in RSF zoned neighborhoods.

Here are a few “takeaways” that I have gleaned from my readings over the last 21 years:

  1. Marco Island was developed as a “Planned Community”. This statement is supported by our original Deltona Deed Restrictions (still maintained to this day by MICA), our Comprehensive Plans and the Code of Ordinances that flow from these documents.
  2. RSF zoning means Residential Single FAMILY.
  3. There are 3 USES by Right ALLOWED in RSF zoned neighborhoods (§30-82. – Permitted uses) and they are: 
    1. Single Family Dwelling.
    2. Family care facilities subject to the land development code.
    3. Public parks and open space.

All Ordinances related to ALLOWABLE USES of property in RSF Districts were initially placed in our Code of Ordinances on 9-17-2001. These ordinances predate the State’s Preemption of our right to control Rentals in our RSF districts (2011) and therefore our RSF zoning ordinance is (or should be Grandfathered).

Some lawyers might claim, “you didn’t enforce a Prohibition of Rental Use over the last 20 years and you didn’t specifically state in your codes that Rentals are prohibited in RSF neighborhoods, therefore your codes are null, void and preempted”. I believe that these statements are opinions. Recently there have been some very interesting judgements made that would seem to indicate that our zoning restrictions of RENTALS in RSF neighborhoods are valid and should NOT be considered preempted. City staff presented their quarterly Rental Issue Report 

at Monday’s city council meeting. The following statement was made at the very end of that report:

There are additional options Council may wish to consider: 

  1. City Council may direct the City Attorney to seek an Attorney General opinion on whether vacation rentals are allowed in RSF District given that the City’s land development code was passed in 2001 prior to the 2011 Florida Statue 509.032”. 

Directing the city’s attorney to represent the interests of the residents, presenting their concerns to the State’s Attorney General, requesting a long overdue favorable determination as to the legal status of our existing ordinances. How apropos. Please email your city councilors a note expressing your views on this unique opportunity.


3 responses to “Guest Commentary by Joseph Rola”

  1. Benjamin Toresco says:

    Let them Rent!

  2. Christine Dowell says:

    The recent Dayton and Miami cases regarding STR stand up for what Councelor Rola is stating.

    Our LDC has never been sent to the Florida AG for opinion.
    But before it is sent the citizens that pay for this city attorney demands to see his letter prior to submitting the AG. Words are important and can be slander to render an opinion that serves the council’s non- action.

  3. Dwight Goslee says:

    Joe has got it right. The council kicked the can down the road again tonight

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