PALMETTO – At Tuesday's Council of Governments meeting, Manatee County government bodies were given a preview of the 2014 state legislative session. Also discussed during the meeting were the advocation of lobbying the state legislature to repeal current vacation rental regulations, re-nourishment of county beaches, and workforce training.
1. Call to Order and Welcome – Commissioner Larry Bustle
2. Short Term Rentals – Jean Peelen, City of Holmes Beach, and Mayor SueLynn, City of Anna Maria
Commissioner Peelen and Mayor Lynn briefed the council on vacation rental rules pertaining to Anna Maria, arguing that the current rules implemented by the Florida legislature are detrimental to the city.
Peelen explained that AMI, like other Florida cities, does not have its own regulations on vacation rentals, and Florida law disallows such cities to create their own rules. HB 883, the bill which has implemented the current status quo, “prohibits local governments from regulating, restricting, or prohibiting vacation rentals based solely on their classification, use, or occupancy.”
Peelen requested that the various government bodies present help lobby the state legislature in repealing the bill. “Smart developers are busting neighborhoods by putting large 6-7 room houses, solely for rental in former residential neighborhoods,” she said, claiming that some tourists renting out such homes have become disturbances to AMI neighborhoods.
Lynn said that only a small percentage of visitors to the city were having a negative effect on neighborhoods, but that “there’s always that small percentage to create problems.”
3. 2014 Legislative Preview – Nicholas Azzara, Information Outreach
Information Outreach Coordinator Nick Azzara offered the council a preview of the 2014 state legislative session.
Azzara advised that recently some initial steps had been taken to consolidate the ports of Port Manatee, and that Manatee County Government supports autonomy of the port.
Regarding the Communications Services Tax, Azzara said that the county supports a requirement that any changes to the tax be revenue neutral for local governments. “We want to make sure that (changes do not become) a tax increase on local residents,” he explained.
Another topic Azzara spoke of was support of funding for regional planning councils, which he said has struggled to get off the ground when it has been brought up in the past. Rules on pain management clinics were brought up, with Azzara saying statistics show that abuse of prescription drugs have gone down since recent ordinances governing the practices of such clinics were passed by local governments.
4. Workforce Training – Cheri Coryea, Neighborhood Services
Director of Neighborhood Services Cheri Coryea gave the presentation on Workforce Training. Coryea said that the county has “a lot of work to do to become a more business-friendly environment.”
5. Beach Renourishment update – Charlie Hunsicker, Natural Resources
County Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker said that Longboat Key will be receiving state and federal funding for beach re-nourishment. “We have anticipated rebuilding the beaches on a 10-year cycle … we are looking at 2014-16 to assemble the state and federal funding necessary to re-nourish the island beaches from AMI to LBK,” he said.
6. Comments/Issues from participants