Lido Key and St. Armands residents push back against hotel houses

Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 7:03 AM EST
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LIDO KEY-ST.ARMANDS, Fla. (WWSB) -Along the streets of Lido Key and St. Armands, signs reading “Stop the Hotel Houses” are popping up.

“I had no idea what this was going to turn into,” said St. Armands’ Resident Association President Chris Goglia.

Goglia said these “hotel houses” have become a recurring issue for the past year and a half.

“Here we are week after week after week, and these groups of 20-25 people are coming in,” said Goglia.

Residents in the area said a developer bought homes, flipped them and replaced them with weekly vacation rental properties, that can sleep up to 25 guests each. Residents have complained about noise, trash and a lack of parking.

“Whomever you are, you can’t just live in your property in peace and quiet,” said Goglia.

Goglia said to understand this issue, you have to put it into perspective. “Anybody in the city, how would you like the house next door to you knocked down and turned into a hotel?” said Goglia.

The problem has prompted angry residents to put signs out in protest, to get the attention of the Sarasota City Commission.

“Enforcement will be code enforcement,” said Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert. Alpert wants to help regulate the issue, by putting limits on building capacity.

“We would phase out the number of people that can stay in the hotel houses, said Alpert. “Like reduce the number of people allowed to stay there and reduce the number of bedrooms that can be built.”

The potential ordinance would cap guest occupancy at no more than 10 people, along with parking restrictions and a requirement that rental owners would have to register with the city. Goglia said the island community will lose a piece of history, if something isn’t done soon.

“Do we want to preserve John Ringling’s vision for St. Armands and Lido keys?” said Goglia. “Or do we want the city’s barrier island neighborhoods to look like what we see out on Anna Maria Island?”

ABC7 reached out to the development company Lido Key Vacations, which is responsible for the hotel houses in the area, and no immediate comment was returned.

The Sarasota City Commission will meet April 6 to discuss the ordinance.

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