ISLAMORADA COMBATS ILLEGAL VACATION RENTALS WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY

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A number of resolutions were due to be approved at the November 18 meeting of the Islamorada village council. One of them included a software technology deal to better track illegal vacation rentals in the village.

On September 2, board members heard from Dustin Reilich, of Deckard Technologies in California, regarding software called Rentalscape. Municipalities across the country that are known to attract visitors lack information on short-term rentals, making it difficult to monitor territory and enforce ordinances.

Thanks to Rentalscape, local authorities are able to monitor and inspect local rental properties and locate those that are not registered. According to Reilich, Rentalscape scans over 7 million short-term rental calendar activities every day.

Council members, including City Councilor David Webb, verbally expressed support for purchasing app access for use by village code compliance officers. He said that 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 from seven to 28 days are not allowed. He said he saw three month old tenants.

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

A contract with Rentalscape to provide short-term rental identification and monitoring services would last 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 vacation rental program totaled 164. Today that number stands at 260, and that does not include the widespread problem of illegal vacation rentals.

In other cases, board members have approved an agreement with Tavernier Company, Wood Environmental & Infrastructure Solutions, for data collection and community outreach for culvert work in various canals on Lower Matecumbe Key. Islamorada is moving forward with the assessment and implementation of culvert connections at strategic locations on the Lower Matecumbe Key at Channels 150, 151, 152 and 155. The project will also include the assessment of the addition of A culvert connection under US 1 of channel 155 to 157 to provide increased flushing in the root canal systems. Costs for data collection and community outreach would not exceed $ 58,928.

The platform also said “yes” to amending a deal with social media company Attention Media and owner Carlos Garcia. Specifically, the services would run for 10 months through the remainder of fiscal year 2021-2022 at a cost of no more than $ 60,000, or $ 6,000 per month. Costs associated with the village 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., for the installation of decorations throughout the village for the holiday season. Some of the places that will see the holiday decor include the Islamorada Welcome Sign, North Plantation Key Stoplight, Founders Park, Islamorada Village Hall, Hurricane Monument, and Craig Key. These areas will be decorated with LED lights, garlands, wreaths, interactive selfie functions, pole mounted and ground level decorations.

The installation of the decorations would begin on November 30 with an expected completion time of five days. An adopted budget allocated $ 50,000 for holiday decorations. The idea for the holiday decorations came from City Councilor Henry Rosenthal at his first meeting after the November 2020 election.

“It really is something that we have never seen in Islamorada,” said Mayor Buddy Pinder. “It will be a different Christmas. It will be beautiful.


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