Recent code violations have put short-term rentals (STRs) on the Town Council ballot. There is a push to revisit and possibly rescind STR regulations. Voters need to know the facts:
- STR regulations were passed in 2003 and defined allowed uses by zoning district.
- The STR ordinance allowed businesses to encroach into residential zoning districts while protecting neighborhoods. Rights of all property owners are protected.
- STR uses differ by residential zoning districts, e.g. single-family (RS), residential conservation (RC), and residential multifamily (RM).
- If registered, any residential property owner can rent for a minimum of one week.
- No property in a residential zoning district may rent for less than a week.
- Bed and Breakfast minimum rental regulations are determined by zoning district, deeded right or special exception.
- A 2018 ordinance provided the Town with tools for better enforcement of the 2003 STR ordinance.
- Warnings and notices of STR violations have been issued for rental businesses. In addition, health, safety and land-use violations were revealed. Some violators feel targeted.
- Several rental businesses participated in STR hearings. They know or should know the regulations. STR regulations have been widely communicated.
- STR fees collected by the Town offset enforcement costs. Fees are paid by STR businesses who benefit financially. It is not a money grab by the Town.
- 90% of FMB property taxes are paid by residential property owners.
- Residential neighborhoods deserve protection from commercial intrusion.
Rental businesses want to revisit and possibly rescind STR regulations. The only candidate who has publicly stated full support of existing Town STR regulations is Dennis Boback. Voters need to know the position of all other candidates regarding STR regulations.
Fort Myers Beach
Editor’s note: 2018 Town of Fort Myers Beach Real Property Taxable Values, as provided by the Lee County Property Appraiser shows that 90.7% of FMB taxable value is residential. That is broken down into 16.3% homesteaded and 74.4% non-homesteaded (potentially residential rental property). Commercial property accounts for 9.2% of total taxable value.