County Zoning will hear proposed vacation rental ordinance in January

At yesterday’s meeting of the St Johns County Commission, the public had their say about one of the most controversial movements in local business news in the past couple of years — impacting the tourist economy, the hotel industry, real estate investment, and a host of other support services.

This year the St Augustine City Commission approved vacation rental rules that include payment of registration fees totaling $294.48 per rental unit plus $73.81 per bedroom.  Those rules and fees only apply to properties physically located within the city limits of St Augustine.  At issue is whether St Johns County should follow suit since the popularity of vacation rentals has increased in recent years. 

The county ordinance, if approved, would require registration of short-term rentals east of the Intracoastal Waterway and implement a series of new rules, such as parking and maximum occupancy requirements.

The proposed county ordinance requires annual registration and inspection as well as a suggested fee of $150 to cover the cost of handling the applications and inspections; prompting commissioners to ask for more information about how much implementing the regulations will actually cost.

The proposal is off to the County Planning and Zoning Agency on January 21, 2021 then back to the County Commission for a vote on February 16, 2021.