Flagler County residents protest vacation rental bills

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, April 13, 2017, 7:01 PM EDT

Homeowners from Flagler County's Hammock community are protesting a state senator who they say isn't vocal enough about opposing vacation rental changes.

  • Bills in Florida House, Senate puts vacation rentals in state hands
  • Currently regulated by local governments
  • Hammock community residents protest Thursday

More than 40 protesters stood together with signs outside the Ocean Hammock neighborhood Thursday afternoon.

The protesters say they are opposing several bills that would give local control to state government, including Senate Bill 188.

The bill calls for the state to regulate vacation rental homes, which would ultimately allow the state to take over inspections and registrations for these homes that investors and homeowners rent to vacationers. Currently the vacation rentals are regulated by local governments, which was enacted in 2014.

But the protesters say there would be little oversight in the state's hands, like that was it was handled in 2011. They say neighborhoods experienced overcrowding, trash in the area and loud parties.

"All of these that take away home rule, we want to keep home rule. It's worked," said Hammock homeowner Jan Cullinane. "All the communities say it's worked, so that is one thing and we want a representative who listens and responds to his constituents."

Florida Sen. Travis Hudson, who represents Flagler, Volusia  and St. Johns counties, says he has voted against the bill and seeking support from his colleagues to vote it down. He said he doesn't want this bill to undo his 2014 bill on this issue.

Protesters say he isn't fighting hard enough to gain opposing support. The bill has another committee stop in the Senate and goes to the House floor next.