Short-term rentals issue to be decided in court
By Jessica Creagan
VERO BEACH -- The issue of short-term rental properties in Vero Beach is headed to circuit court.
Last week, the Vero Beach City council voted 3-1 to ask a circuit court whether decision by the city's volunteer code enforcement board about short-term rentals is correctly following city code and should stand, or if it should be overturned.
The city will hire outside legal counsel to represent itself in the case because city attorney Wayne Coment acts as legal representative for the code enforcement board. There was neither a date nor suggested attorney brought up in the meeting.
Earlier this year, resident David Hunter made a complaint to the code enforcement board regarding property owned by Vice Mayor Tracy Carroll and her husband, John.
Mr. Hunter said the Carrolls were using a rental home in his neighborhood for short-term rentals which he perceived as a code violation, based on the fact that the home is in a residential zone and not zoned for hotel use, or short-term rentals. He used a definition of short-term rentals or transient accommodations, used by the state, which is a rental of less than 30 days.
In a meeting with the code enforcement board, the Carrolls contended the city code was vague and their weekly rentals were not illegal. Instead of paying a small fine, they asked the code enforcement board for a decision. Once the code enforcement board sided with the Carrolls, the only recourse to change the decision, which affects other people renting properties for less than 30 days at a time, is to take it to circuit court, staff said.
Other members of the public also spoke out against short-term rentals, saying the temporary nature of the vacationers doesn't fit the atmosphere Vero Beach residents want in their neighborhoods.
"They are interested in a party," Mr. Hunter said.
For more information about the Vero Beach City Council or to view city government meeting schedules or agendas, visit www.covb.org.