By Bryan Boggiano
The City Commission passed an order late Wednesday that would more strictly regulate vacation rentals to keep neighborhoods safe.
The development comes as residents, most of whom live in Running Brook Hills, complained to the commission that the original code, passed in June 2021, did not go far enough to regulate such properties.
Residents have complained of security issues, large private parties with loud music and private security, rental properties‘ proximity to low-key homes, litter strewn and the declining quality of their neighborhood.
Residents of Running Brook Hills attended the January 5 and February 16 commission meetings to air their grievances against the original ordinance.
In response, commission members and city staff met and discussed ways to tighten vacation rental regulations while adhering to state law.
In Florida, municipalities cannot prohibit such properties or prohibit or regulate how long or how often owners can rent vacation rentals.
The commission unanimously adopted the ordinance in first reading and fixed the second reading. At the second reading, residents of Running Brook Hills again attended the meeting, with most agreeing that the city should pass the new ordinance.
One resident, Howard Melamed, said that while neighbors don’t need to know everything about tenants, there are issues with safety and maintaining the quality of the city.
“We are losing complete control over the fabric of Coral Springs and where the city is headed,” he said.
Teresa Kaldor said she and her neighbors saw multiple parties at a rental property, complete with a party truck and 26 vehicles.
One resident, Jennifer Levi, said she no longer felt safe allowing her three children to cycle in the street.
“It fundamentally changes the nature of our neighborhood, and that’s not fair,” she said.
After hearing feedback from residents and then deliberating on the dais between them and city staff, the commission voted in favor of the new ordinance.
New holiday rental ordinance
The new ordinance contains provisions relating to property registration, capacity limits, noise control, safety guidelines, code enforcement and suspension of registration for code violations.
Owners who wish to use their unit as a vacation rental must register their property with the city, have a property survey and city-approved floor plan, and sign an agreement with the Coral Springs Police Department.
At all rental properties, the maximum occupancy is 16 registered guests. No more than three unregistered guests are permitted, and no unregistered guests are permitted on a property after 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and after 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The ordinance also sets square footage requirements for bedrooms, requires a logbook for guests with vehicle tag numbers, and requires properties to have a noise tracking device.
The code also says the city monitors Airbnb, FlipKey, Booking.com, VRBO and Tripadvisor weekly.
The system of penalties for breaching the new ordinance is progressive. After a second violation, an owner loses their recording license for 30 days.
After four offences, it’s 365 days, then 30 more days for each additional offence.
Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons said the vacation rental problem is not unique to Coral Springs, but needs immediate action. He cited several articles about outside investors buying properties and converting them into vacation rentals, regardless of who lives in the neighborhoods.
“We’re dealing with a much bigger problem, and it’s getting bigger,” Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons said. “What we’re doing is protecting the fabric of Coral Springs.”
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A graduate in journalism from the University of Florida, Bryan is pursuing his master’s degree in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment and journalism.