Holmes Beach mayor to fight state vacation rental bill

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 11, 2018, 9:09 AM EST

This week marks the start of the legislative session and on the table is a vacation rental bill that many Anna Maria Island residents find frightening. 

  • Holmes Beach mayor to fight state vacation rental bill
  • Bill would give state power to regulate vaction rentals
  • Mayor Johnson fears it could change the culture of Holmes Beach

"Honestly, from growing up here as a kid, it went from a lot of local living to a lot of vacation rentals," Anthony Riccion, Holmes Beach resident, said. 

Rental signs are peppered up and down many of the beachside streets--and if the legislation proposed by Senator Greg Stuebe passes there could soon be more. 

The bill, which was filed last week, would strip local governments of the power to regulate vacation rentals, including Air BNB, and give that power to the state. 

The thought is that it would support the property owner's ability to do what they want with their homes. 

The bill states in part--Vacation rentals play a significant, unique, and critical role in Florida's tourism industry, and that role is different from that of public lodging establishments. 

However, it's a sentiment that doesn't sit well with Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson. 

"Holmes Beach, or Anna Maria Island, is not Fort Lauderdale," Johnson said. 

Right now in Holmes Beach, there are pretty strict regulations on how long the rentals must be and the minimum stay is at least a week. They also restrict vacation rentals to certain zones. 

Johnson fears making state-wide decisions on how rentals can be treated will lead to more parties, more noise, and greatly change the culture of Holmes Beach. With such a diverse state, he strongly believes that local government knows best. 

"Party houses are not what we go for here," he said. 

The bill was first presented during the 2017 legislative session but was tabled in May. 

Mayor Johnson and the Holmes Beach City Commission plan to fight the proposal. 

If the legislation is passed and signed by the governor, the bill would become law by July 1.