City attorney for Sarasota to draft ordinance regarding “hotel” homes, St. Armands has seen an influx of these homes

"Hotel" homes ordinance to be drafted for city of Sarasota.
"Hotel" homes ordinance to be drafted for city of Sarasota.(WWSB)
Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 8:57 PM EDT
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sARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota City Commission voting unanimously to have the city attorney draft an ordinance regarding “hotel” homes.

“I think people will start coming back outside again, we’ll be talking like neighbors,” said Julie Bales, a resident of St. Armands.

For Bales and so many other residents on St. Armands, they say there are brighter days ahead. A new ordinance would stop these “hotel” homes from being built in residential neighborhoods.

“I just appreciate what the city has done and that they’re listening to us and trying to work with us to come to a solution,” said Bales.

Hotel homes usually have at least six bedrooms and sometimes will have a large group of people staying in them. Neighbors say big issues with these homes are the noise and concerns with safety. Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch tells ABC7, there are nearly 20 of these types of homes around the St. Armands area.

“There are people that are coming and going enjoying our beautiful city, but it’s not the appropriate location, there are appropriate locations for that kind of activity," said Ahearn-Koch. "That’s why we have zoning, that’s why we plan for these kinds of things so that they don’t impact and destroy neighborhoods. "These can be very destructive and have been.”

The new ordinance is expected to limit the number of bedrooms in new structures in single family neighborhoods, limit the number of occupants allowed in these structures and establish a program for the registration of vacation rentals. It’s uncertain at this time if and how the existing hotel homes would be impacted by a new ordinance. Bales says she is looking forward having this problem resolved very soon.

“There was a period of time when we contemplated moving and the fear of course is that all the full-time residents of the barrier islands will move away,” said Bales.

A new ordinance is expected to go in front of Sarasota City Commissioners in the coming months.

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