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  PBA uses this blog to post individual articles from our monthly newsletters. Members can comment on these articles.
  • 11/01/2020 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    Flagler County Short Term Rental Ordinance

    Listed below are several articles that outline the reasons behind the Flagler County ordinance and the continued push back from those that own "hometels" and their supporters. The articles also include solutions to several of the common issues/complaints the county was receiving with "hometels".

    The following articles are listed in chronological order:

    2015 - https://flaglerlive.com/75159/short-term-rentals-ordinance-flagler/

    2017 - https://flaglerlive.com/113731/vacation-rentals-hoa/

    2018 - https://flaglerlive.com/117484/mealy-vacation-rentals/

    2020 - https://flaglerlive.com/150584/vacation-rentals-deregulation/

    2020 - https://flaglerlive.com/150997/vacation-rental-plan-to-end-home-rule-falters/

    Read more about St. Augustine's Vacation Rental Regulations below:

    https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/01/28/st-augustine-commissioners-approve-short-term-rental-rules/

    Read about Miami-Dade County Ordinance Regulating Short Term Vacation Rentals:

    https://www.miamidade.gov/building/standards/residential-short-term-vacation-rentals.asp

    Below is a link to the Flagler County Short Term Rental Ordinance

    http://www.flaglercounty.org/document_center/growth%20management/Short%20Term%20Vacation%20Rentals/Ordinance%20%202016-01.pdf

    The ordinance above addresses several things including occupancy, parking, safety, inspections, etc. It looks as if they had some push back about fines and suspension of certificates which required some sections being amended. Based upon this document, it doesn't appear that PBA will have to invent the wheel here, just modify it to meet Escambia County/SRIA acceptance.

    -Research complied by Bill Ray (PBA Secretary)


  • 10/26/2020 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    Although we've gotten lots of pushback from the SRIA, we continue to pursue every avenue to stem the flood of "hometels" on Pensacola Beach.  To that end, we've been trying to ascertain how many short term rentals are operating outside of their lease parameters.  We started by working with the "Permanent Residents of Ensenada Quatro" group, who complained to the SRIA and insisted that they enforce the terms of the lease at 4 Ensenada Quatro, which require that the leaseholder use it as his permanent residence. Eventually after more than a year of providing the SRIA with data, signed statements, etc., the leaseholder was sued for violating the terms of his lease and and eventually settled for language that allows him to use his home as a vacation home or 2nd residence but does not allow short term rentals.

    All of the original leases  in the Santa Rosa Villas subdivision had two clauses that required that the leaseholder reside in his property.  We've (residents of Ensenada Quatro) pulled and examined three more leases of homes that are short term rentals.  Two of them were changed in the 1990's, which effectively removed the language requiring the residence, but the third still has the original language.  We asked the SRIA to enforce the terms of that lease and they refused to do so until we provided them with months of data proving that the owner does not reside at the property. There are several more houses in the subdivision that are renting short-term, but the SRIA's attorney said that they will not take action on them unless there's a complaint with evidence. 

    Our question is WHY DO WE HAVE TO ENFORCE LEASES? Isn't that what the SRIA is supposed to do? And why do they not inform buyers that the lease requires them to live on the property full-time?  The buyer at #4 had no idea when he made an offer that he couldn't do short-term rentals, and we've asked some of the other new neighbors if this requirement was disclosed prior to purchase of their homes and they said NO.

    We're interested in pulling leases from other neighborhoods to see if they also have residency requirements.

    We also want to discuss the powers that the SRIA has through the lease system to regulate the size and use of "homes" in the residential areas.  We want SOMEONE to define what a single family home is.  A 9 bedroom, 9 bath house with a commercial kitchen (or two) is in no way a home.  The SRIA requires all plans to be approved by them IN ADDITION to the County.  Let's put some requirements in place to stop future "hometels" from being built.

    The other action I'm personally working on is to find the unauthorized rental agencies operating on the beach without commercial leases.  The interesting fact is that the SRIA essentially punishes businesses that legitimately  set up shop on the beach vs those that operate from Gulf Breeze, and this has already cost us tens of thousands of dollars in lost lease fees.

    They also noted that two businesses are operating ON the island without commercial leases, and they confirmed that the leaseholders who are renting more than one property from their leasehold home are in violation as well.  

    Terry Preston -  Government Affairs Committee Chair

  • 10/26/2020 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    Committee Report on Hometels and Wedding Venues in Pensacola Beach & How They Impact the Local Area

    How do hometels and wedding venues impact residential neighborhoods and/or hotels on Pensacola Beach?
    1. Parking
    2. Noise
    3. Excessive Trash
    4. Are not required to pay commercial lease fees on every transaction
    5. Safety/Fire Hazard
    6. Are not required to be ADA compliant

    What truly enforceable laws/ordinances/policies are currently on the books?
    1. Parking

    What quasi enforceable laws/ordinances/policies are currently on the books?
    1. Noise
    2. SRIA event permit

    What makes a hometel/wedding venue a residential lifestyle inconvenience vs a safety issue?
    1. Noise is an inconvenience.
    2. Excessive trash is an inconvenience bordering on a health safety issue depending on how long it sits, whether there are enough receptacles, where said receptacles are placed on trash day.
    3. Street side parking, especially when it’s on both sides of the street and in front of fire hydrants, is a safety issue.
    4. Large gatherings and open flames with no mandated sprinkler system is a safety issue. (Why do hotels have to install working sprinkler systems?)

    What can be done to reign in hometels and wedding venues?
    1. No street side parking. If you are a permanent or long term resident, you should know your neighbors and be able to borrow driveway space if you are hosting a party.
    2. Research if there is a phone app that can accurately measure noise and understand the difference between legally loud and just annoying.
    3. Research trash guidelines and regulations. Work to implement enforceable regulations. (Ask Dale.)
    4. Research various leases. (Follow up with Terry about what they are doing.)
    5. For known venues — running a commercial business in a residential neighborhood are in violation of their lease. Is it possible to come up with a hybrid lease with appropriate fees.
    6. Signage. How many signs are too many?
    7. Tropical Storm/Hurricane (before/after) — enforcement of leaseholder sticker? First to be mandated to leave? Impact on evacuation? Impact on infrastructure.

     Liz Hewson - Spring Break Committee Chair


  • 10/26/2020 10:53 AM | Anonymous

    Minutes from the October 15 Pensacola Beach Advocates Annual Meeting

    The meeting was called to order at 5:30 PM. Refreshments were served at 5 PM. President James Crittenden led all in the pledge of allegiance while Pastor Jim Coyl of the Beach church led us in an invocation.

    President Crittenden started the meeting by giving a recap of the previous year. He mentioned his goals for filling out the pyramid and getting more people involved in the organization.   He recapped the significant things that were achieved from the spring break meeting before Covid shut down the beach and he talked about those who violated short term rentals during this period and the problem with them in general. 

    The next item on the agenda was for the election of the 2021 board. Bill Ray, Jack Womack, and Glenn Windham were all presented as candidates and gave a brief presentation as to why they wanted to serve on the board.  Rhonda Dorfman read a statement by Lyn Castel and nominations were opened to the floor to see if anyone was interested in serving on the board.  No further nominations were offered so they were accepted as the new board of directors for the 2021 PBA board.  Subsequently the board of directors met on October 20th and elected officers.  The new PBA officers are Rhonda Dorfman – President, Jack Womack- Vice President, Glenn Windham - Treasurer, and Bill Wray – Secretary.  Lyn Castel is serving as a general board member. 

    The President also gave a report from Lauren Campanella who chairs the environmental committee and it briefly detail the reasons why the baby shower in the Christmas parade were canceled… Due to Covid and the fact that the storage unit has been cleared out… And that government permitting, these two events would proceed in 2021. 

    The president then led the discussion on the most important item of the night:  unregulated real estate.  This prompted comments from the chair of the spring break meeting, Liz Hewson, and you can see her comments in the attached report.  She also stated that she was not happy with the hurricane evacuation plans that the county implemented during hurricane Sally and the lack of fire protection when fire trucks were ordered off of the beach during that time period. She thanked the police for keeping everyone safe before, during and after the storm.    

    Discussion on the impact of unregulated Real estate or Hometels, which are larger than average homes intended to rent to 20 or more people, produced a lively discussion before the Q and A. It prompted a response from Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender. He mentioned the limitations placed upon the county by the state and about some fiscal ways in which unregulated party and short-term rental homes could be monitored for compliance.  He also stated that in 2014 the Florida state Supreme Court struck down the case dealing with the ability to regulate private property.   He mentioned Flagler Beach as a possible model.  Terry Preston, the governmental affairs committee chairperson gave a rundown on illegal leases, nonconforming leases, and commercial lease activity that is not regulated. Please also see attached her report.              

    Questions were posed to officer Pachucki who was in attendance from the Escambia sheriff’s office.  All were regarding illegal parking, noise, and other enforcement issues. 

    Constituent comments were directed to the fact that nothing happens unless the constituents call in and complain. Constituents were asking that something proactive be done by the Island Authority about all the zoning enforcement violations. 

    Newly installed board member Jack Womack asked and gave an example of the right of way enforcement letters and then the lack of compliance. SRIA representative Thomas Campanella stated that they would just have to start the letters again and get the ball rolling again and then other constituents at the meeting stated that  questions are still not being answered and complaints not followed up.  During this time. The powers that be were thanked for getting residents back onto the island quickly after hurricane Sally. 

    After the Q&A process board member Rhonda Dorfman presented the idea for the neighborhood street representatives and asked all who were willing to sign up for their street. The purpose of this group is to act as a liaison from their neighborhood to the board to keep everyone informed on what is working and what is not working in their neighborhood. It is hopeful that this ad hoc committee will help bring more participants into the Advocates Affairs.  Commissioner Bender was publicly asked to meet with the new board to discuss a document that outlines the role of SRIA.  

    The meeting was adjourned at 7:27 PM.


  • 12/10/2019 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    SRIA BOARD MEETING TO INCLUDE ROUNDABOUT TRAFFIC PLANS DISCUSSION

    I wanted to make the PBA membership aware there will be some discussion of the proposed roundabout plan at the SRIA Board meeting this Wednesday, December 11th at 5:00pm.

    I do not think there will be a public Q&A time, however it is my understanding the engineers will be there to present their roundabout plan to the Island Authority and Commissioner Bender. If you want more information on the roundabout plan and have nothing else going on drop in on the meeting. The items on the agenda are listed below.

    10. UPDATE BY DAVID FORTE, TRAFFIC OPERATIONS AND PLANNING DIVISION MANAGER, ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT, ESCAMBIA COUNTY

    11. UPDATE BY VOLKERT ON THE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PLANS

    Respectfully,

    Jamie Crittenden 

  • 12/10/2019 7:46 PM | Anonymous

    RESULTS OF THE PBA ROUNDABOUT SURVEY

    Thank you to the people who took the time to respond to the survey regarding the roundabouts plan. I received 71 emails and many took the time to write lengthy responses to the questions.

    I’m sorry for the poor email format. I will use a survey application service in the future to make responding easier.

    QUESTION 1: I am in favor of (OR I am against) the proposed roundabouts plan on Pensacola Beach which will replace the existing stoplight.

    ANSWERS: 80% Against the roundabout plan17% For the roundabout plan3% other solutions.

    QUESTION 2: There has been (OR there has not been) adequate information presented on how the roundabout system will function to reduce traffic congestion.

    ANSWERS: Only about half would like more information.

    QUESTION 3: The cause of the traffic congestion on Pensacola Beach is?

    ANSWERS: 42% believe parking is the problem. Toll booth, the light, and pedestrian traffic were each mentioned about 12% of the time.

    Regards,

    James Crittenden


  • 11/06/2019 11:15 AM | Anonymous

    The article below was published from USA Today on November 2, 2019.

    Airbnb bans 'party houses' after 5 die in Halloween party shooting at home rental

    Airbnb is banning "party houses" after five people were killed and several were wounded in a shooting at a Halloween party at a Northern California home rental.

    "We are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct, including conduct that leads to the terrible events we saw in Orinda," CEO Brian Chesky announced in a series of tweets Saturday.

    Chesky said the company would be expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations, creating a dedicated “party house” rapid response team and taking immediate action against users who violate guest policies.

    Chesky also said he has directed an Airbnb executive to oversee the rapid response team and initiate a "10 day sprint" to implement the new safety initiatives.

    Police in Orinda, a suburb of San Francisco, were called to the house twice Thursday evening regarding a noise complaint. Just as an officer was headed to the home to investigate the calls, reports of a shooting came in, according to Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.

    Officers arrived at "a highly chaotic scene" to find gunshot victims, injured partygoers, and numerous people fleeing the house. Three people were pronounced deceased at the scene, and two later died of injuries at the hospital.

    According to the sheriff's office, more than 100 partygoers from throughout the Bay Area attended the Halloween event, which was advertised on social media. The "Airbnb Mansion" party was scheduled to open at 10 p.m., and guests were asked to bring their own booze, according to local KTVU-TV.

    “Our whole neighborhood heard it, and then people were screaming and fleeing,” a neighbor, Chris Gade, told the San San Francisco Chronicle. “We could see from our windows. There were a lot of people walking around who were hurt.”

    Michael Wang, 58, who owns the property, told the Chronicle that the party’s host rented the house through Airbnb and claimed she was holding a family reunion for 12 people. Wang said he called the police on his own house when he began receiving noise complaints from neighbors and noticed large crowds in his security camera.

    Authorities identified the five victims as 22-year-old Tiyon Farley of Antioch, 24-year-old Omar Taylor of Pittsburg, 23-year-old Ramon Hill Jr. of San Francisco/Oakland, 29-year-old Javin County of Sausalito/Richmond and 19-year-old Oshiana Tompkins of Vallejo/Hercules.

    "This will barely make the news today. That's how numb we have become to this," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday on Twitter. "Our hearts are aching for the victims and all those affected by this horrific tragedy."

    Newsom called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass gun reform to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

    The investigation is ongoing.


    To read the full article visit the link below:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/02/california-halloween-shooting-5-killed-airbnb-bans-party-houses/4140691002/

  • 10/31/2019 12:23 PM | Anonymous

    Annual Meeting Minutes

    October 29, 2019

    Beach Community Church

    Introductions

    Pensacola Beach Advocates President, Terry Preston, opened the meeting at 5:30 p.m., welcomed the membership, and introduced board members Peter Nemeth, and James Crittenden.  Board members Ben Clabaugh and Lauren Campanella were unable to attend. She also introduced guests Angela Crawley, representing Commissioner Robert Bender; Tim Tolbert, CBO, Escambia County Building and Animal Services; Wes Marino; Pensacola Beach Public Works; Robbie Schrock, SRIA; and Jason York and Chip Simmons, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

    Annual Report

    Terry listed the accomplishments of the Pensacola Beach Advocates since our last annual meeting, including a collaborative effort with the SRIA, County and Sheriff’s Office to return Pensacola Beach to a family-friendly Spring Break destination; participating in Lease Workshops with the SRIA; injecting truth and clarity as often as possible into the false narrative of the “Save Pensacola Beach” campaign; adding protective language to the eventual beach ordinance that was recently passed; sponsoring the Sea Turtle Baby Shower, Sea Turtle Soiree, and collaborating with the Beach School and Ocean Hour on collecting plastic bottle caps to recycle into benches.  All efforts will be listed on the website.

    Board Elections

    No early nominations were submitted; however two members Charlie Rotenberry and Rhonda Dorfmann were nominated at the meeting. Charlie is not eligible due to residency and/or ownership restrictions in our Bylaws, but he agreed to join the Government Affairs Committee and request a review of the Bylaws to perhaps make them more inclusive with an At-Large board position for an off-beach member.  Since the only board member not running for re-election was Terry Preston, Rhonda and the returning board members were elected by voice vote.

    Committee Updates

    Terry gave the updates on both committees.  The Governmental Affairs Committee intends to continue to pursue a collaborative effort to ensure that Spring Break visitors enjoy a safe, legal vacation.  They will also continue to follow and support a lawsuit that the SRIA is pursuing regarding violations of lease restrictions requiring the lessee to occupy their leasehold property.  They will continue to draw attention to the number of businesses posing as single family homes, not following noise ordinances and not registering events of over 35 people with the SRIA.  They will also continue to remind the Escambia County Commission of the $9,000,000.00 in taxes and fees per year that Pensacola Beach contributes to the county over and above expenses.

    Terry also updated the Beachkeepers report, mentioning that for the second year in a row, over 1,000 people participated in the Sea Turtle Baby Shower, which is a great way to inform and educate in a fun, family-friendly environment!  She also encouraged members to contact Lauren Campanella  if they wish to participate in the Surfing Santa Beach Parade or the Sea Turtle Soiree.  Other initiatives may be underway as well, which we’ll update members on when they are planned.

    New Business

    Terry opened the floor to discussion and suggestions for issues that members are concerned about.  Discussion ensued regarding “hometels” and illegal duplexes renting, the fact that residents are tasked with enforcement, which is not supported to the degree that we would prefer, and traffic management plans including roundabouts, which we do not support in their current form.  Chip Simmons stated that the Sheriffs now how a properly calibrated sound meter; however they had no trained officers to operate it.  HE is sending two officers to training soon, so we can expect sound complaints to have a more proactive response from Law Enforcement in the future.  Tim Tolbert corrected our misunderstanding that multiple kitchens are the deciding factor as to whether a house is a single family home or not.  Tom Campanella said that some leases actually allow duplexes in neighborhoods that are zoned as single family, and encouraged everyone to read their leases.  He also said that the illegal Air BnBs that do slip through the cracks are due to nobody at the SRIA being assigned to specifically research these.  Terry mentioned that almost every SRIA meeting has at least one petition to allow a pool install in the setback areas due to the “house” taking up the entire buildable area.  These are routinely granted.

    The meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.


    Click HERE to view the minutes in PDF format. 

  • 08/23/2019 9:21 AM | Anonymous

    After two years of obfuscating information, outright lies and misrepresentations, bullying and obstructing the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners from doing the job we elected them for, a totally bogus petition, and a referendum that was misunderstood by most of the voters, the "Save Pensacola Beach" folks complained that since the wording in the proposed county ordinance that the SRIA voted in was not exactly what they asked for, they would not support it, and, in fact, would sue everyone they could because it was obviously collusion or worse. I guess if you spread lies long enough you forget what you were asking for.

    CLICK HERE TO READ THE ORDINANCE 

    The good news: The SRIA added a requirement for a unanimous BoCC vote to change the building cap, and prohibited any trading of capped units between properties. At least these two PBA-suggested provisions will actually SAVE Pensacola Beach.

  • 08/06/2019 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    Recent discussions with both leaseholders and other county residents have unfortunately shown that the "Save Pensacola Beach" efforts to mislead the public as the what the SRIA lease system actually does have been largely successful. 

    These are the FACTS: Under the terms of ALL leases, Escambia County is the owner of all land and of improvements of a permanent character erected or placed on the county-held land. Additionally, all leases contain clauses requiring lessees to repair or rebuild any damaged or destroyed improvement, and lessees are prohibited from removing any permanent improvement; no lease contains any clause granting an option to purchase either the land or the improvements; and leases provide for different renewal periods. Leases on more than 600 parcels contain no renewal provision. Some provide for renewal on terms that are subject to negotiation or “renegotiation,” and some require a written notice to renew; and, no leases are automatically renewable or perpetual in duration.

    In short, YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR HOME, BUSINESS or the land or which it sits, and if it is destroyed, you must rebuild it.  Additional lease provisions might also surprise you.  Many leases require that the leasehold be the primary residence of the leaseholder, while others roll all of the rules of the homeowners' association at the time of issuance into the lease language.  IF you haven't done so, READ YOUR LEASE.  You might be violating it and not even know it.

    The SRIA continues to grapple with how to equitably charge the leaseholders who do not have equitable ownership on their land for the services they receive.  This and the proposed ordinance preventing us from ever owning our taxed leaseholds will be discussed at a workshop at the SRIA building at 4:00 p.m. on August 14th.  We recommend that all interested leaseholders attend!

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