Sarasota City Commissioners discussing St. Armands high occupancy rental complaints

Updated: Jan. 21, 2020 at 7:38 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Many residents who live on St. Armands say they don’t want the so called “hotel” homes in their neighborhood.

“Density brings cars, traffic, noise, trash, concerns about safety,” said Kevin Bales, President of the St. Armands Residents Association.

Bales says those are some of the issues facing he and other residents on St. Armands from these big homes being built that are rented to large amount of vacationers. He tells us one of these homes is on the same block as his and another is being built adjacent to his backyard.

“We have nothing against rentals, we have nothing against these kinds of structures, if they’re in the proper setting,” said Bales.

These homes usually feature six or more bedrooms and sometimes will be rented out to up to 20 people. On Tuesday night, the Sarasota City Commission, led by Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, addressed the issue and got input from residents of St. Armands.

“The issue for the neighbors is that this looks like a commercial business in a residential neighborhood," said Ahearn-Koch. "And that comes with all the compatibility issues that go along with something like that, it’s just very important to be clear that it’s not about proper short-term rentals or Airbnbs.

The mayor says there are companies buying these small Florida homes, tearing them down and building these huge homes. In Sarasota, what is currently regulated is the length of stay having to be at least a week for a short term rental. All aspects of this “hotel” home issue being talked about tonight.

“We don’t regulate the number of bedrooms that you build, that is not something that we do as a city, so we can’t touch what we have on our books as far as short term rentals,” said Ahearn-Koch.

The Sarasota City Commission voted 4-1 to direct the City Attorney to look into the issues of hotel houses and home sharing and possible regulation options.

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