Palm Coast Sets its Sights on Short-term Rentals

With Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto of a measure limiting laws limiting short-term rental properties by local governments, the Palm Coast City Council is looking to craft an ordinance to regulate vacation properties.

The discussion took place at a meeting earlier this month after council members heard a long string of complaints about the problem from residents regarding short-term rental properties in their neighborhoods.

“This is something I have been harping on since I took this seat,” said Councilmember Theresa Pontieri. “We have a lot of considerations that we have to lo look at to make sure we are being reasonable but really protecting the quality of life of our residents.”

Vice Mayor Ed Danko said the litany of complaints from residents about disruptive vacationers is something the city is aware of for a long time.

“Now our hands are a little untied, so we have some leverage,” he said.

Danko said he understands what residents are going through having experienced it himself when he lived in Hatteras Island, North Carolina.

“We really need to get this right and do as much as we can to make sure these rentals are following the rules,” he said.

Pontieri said she would like the city to pass an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals, as well as find a way to offset the city’s enforcement costs.

Councilmember Nick Klufas said the city could work with the Flagler County Tax Collector’s Office for ways to document short-term rental properties in the city.

“I think we should reach out to them and try to use similar software so owe can see where the (short-term rental properties) are in our community,” he said.

Mayor David Aflin said there are two components to the issue, the renters and the property owners.

“You have those that are renting and causing the disarray on a daily or weekly basis,” he said. “That requires a certain set of rules and regulations to correct that. (And) you have the owners and/or the management companies. I would very much like to have Council separate those two entities.”

Alfin asked city staff how soon an ordinance could be prepared for discussion.

“We understand the importance of this,” said Acting City Manager Lauren Johnston, adding the issue could be added to the Aug. 13 workshop agenda.

“It’s going to be a lengthy meeting because we are in the middle of the budget as well,” she said.

Alfin said any resolution to the issue has to be long-term to be effective.

“We don’t want to get halfway down the road and find out we’ve made a mistake,” he said. “My desire is what we end up with becomes a model for the region, for the state.”