In January of this year, the City of Anna Maria attempted to place a ban on all vacation rentals in the City. Blalock Walters represented more than 30 affected property owners, and was instrumental in the City’s decision to rescind this action.
However, once the vacation rental ban was off the table, the City then enacted a moratorium and embarked on a four-month review of potential development restrictions, intended to limit the scale and intensity of houses in the City. During this period, the Commission considered limitations related to height, size, parking, building design, pools, decking, etc.
Ultimately, the Commission enacted restrictions related to parking, pools, lot coverage, and building size. Most notably, the City enacted a new “living area ratio” regulation, which restricts the air-conditioned space of a home to 40% of the lot size. And, of the total air-conditioned space allowed under the ratio, only one-third of the space can be utilized on the home’s second living level. As an example, if the lot is 5,000 square feet in size, the maximum allowable air-conditioned living area would be 2,000 square feet. That 2,000 square feet of living space could be located entirely on one level or split between two living levels, but the second living level would be limited to a maximum of 667 square feet.
In June, the City sent out notices to its property owners regarding the adoption of the “living area ratio” ordinance. The purpose of sending the notice is to trigger the timeframe for an affected property owner to bring a claim under Florida’s Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act. Arguably, affected property owners only have one year from the date of receipt of the notice to submit a Harris Act claim to the City, or the claim may be forever barred.
Property owners in the City of Anna Maria should review these new regulations carefully, as the impact will vary significantly based on the particular property or house at issue. If the regulations inhibit future plans for the property, or impact the market value of the property in general, there are potential remedies available, including administrative variances and the Bert J. Harris Act. However, strict timeframes may apply. If you have any questions about these regulations or about available options for relief, please contact Scott Rudacille.