St. Augustine city leaders consider set of rules for Airbnb and other vacation rentals

The first reading of the ordinance passed 4-0 on Monday

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – City leaders explored a set of rules for Airbnb and other vacation rentals in the nation’s oldest city on Monday night. City leaders say this all came about after many started noticing more of these properties popping up around town.

The first reading of the ordinance passed 4-0.

At a meeting Monday night, a resident asked the city commission to tread carefully.

“I think that’s a lot of why there’s been a lot of construction downtown is for people trying to make this work for themselves, their futures, to make differences in their social security etcetera and so please think of all the factors here,” resident Gene Griffin said.

The regulations address everything from parking to safety. City leaders have estimated St. Augustine has around 500 short-term rental properties, and tonight, they’ll take up a set of proposed regulations including:

  • the short-term rentals would have to be registered with the city
  • the occupancy would be limited to two people per bedroom and a maximum of 12 people per property.
  • at least one parking space would have be available per bedroom
  • safety equipment, like a fire extinguisher, would be a must

After the first reading passed, the second reading will take place sometime in January with a public hearing too.

At a meeting earlier this year, city leaders stressed the idea is to accommodate these properties and their owners but to also preserve the city’s historic culture. Under the regulations, the city would also be responsible for setting up a system, which would allow for people to report any possible complaints. The property owner would then have 30 minutes to respond.

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