The Legislature’s attempt to roll back local governments’ regulatory authority of vacation rentals barely fell short, so the fight is not over for counties at the forefront of the issue like Flagler.
A bill that would end Flagler County’s authority to regulate short-term rentals cleared its last House committee and appears headed for a clash with its Senate version, which is very different. If differences aren’t resolved, the bills die.
Flagler County’s vacation-rental regulations currently in place would be preserved according to a new version of a Senate bill the county had been fighting before. And a House bill may be dead.
Sen. Tom Lee, the seasoned chairman of the Community Affairs Committee, didn’t ant the bill rushed through debate, as had been the case on a previous occasion before Sen. Travis Hutson.
Flagler County government had staked its chances on killing the bill in this particular committee because Rep. Paul Renner, who represents Flagler, sits on the panel and had pledged to do what he could to halt the bill’s momentum.
Rep. Paul Renner and County Commissioner Greg Hansen are organizing a town hall meeting in the Hammock Saturday, hoping to rally support against a proposed legislative retreat on vacation-rental regulations.
Flagler County government’s attempt to protect its vacation-rental regulations took another turn for the worse as a Senate committee today voted to advance a bill that would wipe out those regulations.
Sen. Travis Hutson had supported the 2014 law enabling Flagler County to regulate vacation rentals. His amendment, which he calls a “compromise,” would scale that back even though he sees no problems with local regulations or short-term rentals.
A divided House Agriculture and Property Rights Subcommittee was not swayed by a presentation from Flagler County Attorney Al Hadeed as it voted to scrap county authority to regulate short-term, vacation rentals. The bill has several additional hurdles to clear.
After a three-year battle, Flagler County government regained the right to regulate short-term rentals in the Hammock, which had become disruptive to local residents. Now the state is poised to take that authority away–again.