ISLAMORADA FIGHTS ILLEGAL VACATION RENTALS WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY

A number of resolutions were to be approved at the November 18 meeting of the Islamorada village council. One included an agreement for software technology to better track illegal vacation rentals in the village is among the items up for vote.

On September 2, board members heard from Dustin Reilich of Deckard Technologies in California regarding the software known as Rentalscape. Municipalities across the country that are known to attract visitors lack information on short-term rentals, leading to difficulties in policing territory and enforcing ordinances.

Using Rentalscape, local authorities are able to monitor and inspect local rental properties and track down unregistered ones. According to Reilich, Rentalscape analyzes more than 7 million short-term rental calendar activities every day.

Council members, including Councilor David Webb, have verbally expressed their support for purchasing access to the app for use by village code compliance officers. He said the use of the houses for vacation rentals is rampant in the village. Webb, who lives in Port Antigua, said his community is zoned single-family, or R1. This means that rentals for seven to 28 days are not permitted. He said he saw tenants for three months.

“Our neighborhoods are not meant to be commercial operations,” he said.

A contract with Rentalscape to provide identification and monitoring services for short-term rentals would run for one year and cost $25,000. Rentalscape will work closely with Code Compliance Officers and Village Manager Greg Oravec to configure the app to meet the needs of the Village.

In 2008, licenses issued in the first year of the village’s vacation rental program totaled 164. Today, that number stands at 260, and that’s not including the widespread problem of vacation rentals. illegal vacation.

In other business, council members approved an agreement with the Tavernier company, Wood Environmental & Infrastructure Solutions, for data collection and community outreach for culvert works on various canals in Lower Matecumbe Key. Islamorada is moving forward with the assessment and implementation of culvert connections at strategic locations in Lower Matecumbe Key at canals 150, 151, 152 and 155. The project will also include the assessment of the addition of a culvert connection under US 1 from channel 155 to 157 to provide increased flushing in the channel systems. Data collection and community outreach costs would not exceed $58,928.

The dais also said “yes” to an amendment to an agreement with social media company Attention Media and its owner Carlos Garcia. Specifically, the services would span 10 months through the remainder of the 2021-22 fiscal year at a cost of no more than $60,000, or $6,000 per month. Costs associated with the village’s social media outreach program would be taken from the village council department’s public relations/advertising account in the general fund.

Council members also approved an agreement with Holiday Lightscapes Inc. to install decorations throughout the village for the holiday season. Some of the places that will see holiday decor include the Islamorada Welcome Sign, North Plantation Key Stop Light, Founders Park, Islamorada Village Hall, Hurricane Monument, and Craig Key. These areas will be decorated with LED lights, garlands, wreaths, interactive selfie features, pole mounted and ground level decorations.

Installation of the decorations would begin Nov. 30 with an expected completion time of five days. A passed budget allocated $50,000 for holiday decorations. The idea for the holiday decorations came from Councilman Henry Rosenthal at his first meeting after the November 2020 election.

“It’s really something we haven’t seen in Islamorada,” Mayor Buddy Pinder said. “It’s going to be a different Christmas. It’s going to be beautiful.

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