MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — Big changes are coming for short-term rental on Marco Island. On Tuesday night, voters approved a new ordinance, requiring homeowners to register their rental properties with the city.
The ordinance has received a lot of heat from both sides of the issue. Supporters say it's needed because of constant concerns while opponents believe this will hurt the tourism industry.
"No rules have changed relative to vacation rentals," said Mike McNees, City Manager of Marco Island. "Our job now is to take the ordinance and get it to City Council."
That's where the process picks up from here. City Councilor Gregory Folley says it needs to go through two readings and public hearings.
"We would have an opportunity to address implementation plans and staff issues and fees," Folley explained.
The ordinance comes back to a political committee put together by residents called Take Back Marco. The City says the group gathered enough signatures on petitions to get the ordinance on the primary ballot. It passed by close to 57 percent.
The City Attorney told McNees the council members have the ability to make changes and tweaks to the ordinance.
"What the City Attorney has said so far is yes, they [City Council] have to be able to prove something that’s legally defensible that you can enforce," McNees said. "That’s what the conversation will be now."
The ordinance says a homeowner will register their property and pay $50 every year to do so. We asked Folley if he supports the ordinance.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Marco Island short-term rental ordinance passes
"I think there are things that have to be changed and that's understood by everybody, so I have supported sending it to the voters," he said. "I felt we need to have a reasonable registration ordinance on the books to just ensure that rental property owners that rent their properties are compliant with applicable law."
The heated debate has boiled over into some common complaints, McNees said.
"Most often heard have been complaints about noise," he said. : "Complaints about trash left out too long, or put out too early or too much trash or too many cars blocking the sidewalk."
Those complaints are now addressed in the ordinance, but Folley has an issue with a few of the rules.
"The audible noise provision within 50 feet of the property line at any time during the day — I think that would require almost all renters to stay inside to be compliant," he explained. "I have concerns about that."
He says he believes the majority of the homeowners that rent out their properties are good people.
"We are dealing with a small, small minority of the population that has caused some problems and I think we all need to have patience with one another," Folley said.
The ordinance will require manpower to enforce, whether it's through City staff or a vendor to handle the registration of homeowners.
"I think what’s important now is we focus on a usable, enforceable ordinance that will accomplish the objectives of getting the registration and having the enforcement of the things that have been problematic," McNees said.
The election is expected to be certified on August 30. From there, it will head to a City Council agenda. They have to give the public a 10-day notice, so it will likely not make it on the September 6 agenda.
However, Folley said it will then head to the late September meeting followed by October since two public hearings and readings are required.