by Walter LaGraves…….
It is a very good thing that more and more folks in our lower Keys are irate about the affordable housing situation. Hurricane Irma brought this Gordian problem into stark focus. One can only hope that in the ’18 election cycle that in the field of BOCC candidates there will be one or more candidates who have the courage to tackle this mess.
On Big Pine Key alone there are at least 50 rental units that advertise vacation rental on the web. We all know that renting for less than 30 days is illegal, nonetheless, the ordinance is ignored…and it is rarely enforced. Many websites actually advertise daily rentals in residential neighborhoods.
Contrary to the views of many elected officials, our Keys are not totally tourist oriented. There are bedroom communities and retirement communities. Between Big Pine Key and Big Copping Key, (BOCC Dist. 2), there are virtually -0- tourist attractions, save for a very few charter and dive boats. It is the Keys version of suburbia. You will find only residential neighborhoods.
I propose that we elect commissioners who will change existing ordinance so that vacation rentals are completely outlawed from Big Pine to Key West. That ordinance should be replaced by a Miami Beach ordinance that permits renting in residential neighborhoods only for a 6 month minimum. This to accommodate the many Snowbirds that love these Keys as much as you and I do.
So doing would immediately put many score, probably well over a hundred, housing units on the local rental market. Market forces would immediately drive down the cost to rent those units. The property owners, most of which I suspect are not Monroe voters, would still be able to rent and to make a profit on their property.
In very short order, hundreds of vacation rentals would come on the market for long-term renting at affordable prices. This could be a major part solving the dilemma of so many middle-class persons who simply can’t afford to live and work in our Keys. It will not cost the taxpayer a cent.