News Talk Florida
The Florida Vacation Rental Management Association (FLVRMA) released a Mason-Dixon poll Friday showing that Floridians overwhelmingly support short-term vacation rentals. Almost 90 percent of registered Florida voters believe Floridians should have the right to rent out a secondary home as a vacation rental. “This poll clearly shows that Floridians believe it is time to embrace efforts to protect Florida’s short-term vacation rental industry, which plays a vital role in our tourism economy,” said Nikki DeVeronica, president of FLVRMA.
Nearly one year after Fort Myers Beach cracked down on vacation rental properties, some state lawmakers are trying again to overturn local rules. Fort Myers Beach requires people who want to rent out their house to register their rental properties with the town. Anyone who doesn't receives a fine. But some say those new rules haven't been working out too well.
Trees down, fences blown apart, and roofs collapsed. This has become a common sight in the Panhandle after Hurricane Michael. The Florida Caverns State Park and Blue Springs, two popular tourist destinations in Jackson County, weren't spared from the devastation. Officials have been working tirelessly since the hurricane to get these parks ready for tourist season.
Pensacola News Journal
In the last five years, homes in the Willowbrook neighborhood have seen their property along the small man-made lake go from lakefront to swamp front property, but that will soon change. Escambia County is set to award a $1.15 million contract on Thursday to rebuild the dam that created Willowbrook Lake along Chemstrand Road.
Lee County approved an agreement with Cape Coral on Tuesday in an attempt to help restore water flow into Matlacha Pass and the Caloosahatchee River. The agreement establishes the responsibilities of the city and county for construction and maintenance of an interconnect system between Cape Coral's freshwater canal system in northeast Cape and the Yellow Fever Creek canal and preserve land, which is largely owned by the county.
Naples Daily News
I have a few comments regarding the recent County Commission meeting involving the “need” for rental affordable housing. I’ve been doing my homework, checking the facts, and then driving around to make sure I see it with my own eyes. The county affordable housing department and the chamber of commerce have stated we need more affordable rental housing. It appeared that the speakers at the Feb. 12 meeting had all been advised of the issue and what to speak about. I’m not sure how they calculate the need, but citizens continue to talk about the need, and even “the crisis.”
Next to the airboats at the entrance to Everglades Holiday Park, about thirty people from The Sierra Club, the Broward County League of Women Voters, and other environmentalist groups stood together holding signs Tuesday that read "Not Here, Not Now, Not Everglades." The groups gathered, along with local lawmakers, to speak out against drilling for oil in the wetlands they were standing in.
The Florida Everglades consist of 1.5 million acres of federally protected wetlands and is home to endangered species. However, if one company gets its way, the protected wetlands will also be home to a future oil-drilling site. Two years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency said no to drilling in the Everglades, but thanks to the passing of Amendment 6, that ruling has been overturned. Amendment 6 expanded victim’s rights, but it also allowed courts to change previously settled government decisions.
Panama City News Herald
Estimated insured losses for Hurricane Michael have passed $5.6 billion but could be even higher because the number of closed insurance claims reported to the state might be overinflated. In a recent Bay County town hall meeting, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said his office was aware of the discrepancies with closed claims. The office hopes to institute better reporting methods for insurers so it can provide more accurate information to the public after disasters, he said.
A proposal to drill for oil in the Everglades was attacked by politicians and environmentalists Tuesday, as they urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to step in and stop it. At a news conference at Everglades Holiday Park in southwest Broward County, a parade of speakers denounced the proposal by Kanter Real Estate LLC for an exploratory well a few miles west of Miramar.
Term limits for School Board members got one step closer to the statewide ballot in Florida. But amid concerns about home rule, the lawmakers promised to explore ways to pose the question county by county. The House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee on Wednesday advanced legislation that could lead to eight-year limits. For now, the bill seeks uniform limits in every School Board statewide.
We may have reached the nadir of the state's efforts to undermine the authority of local governments. Home rule - the decades-old tradition that allows municipalities and counties to regulate issues within their jurisdictions - has been under withering attack in recent years. That said, the latest proposal percolating in Tallahassee may have crossed a line.
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide if contamination of groundwater that seeps into rivers, lakes and oceans violates the Clean Water Act. Dumping pollutants directly into navigable bodies of water is prohibited by the 47-year-old law, but it is less clear about indirect sources. Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Hawaii's Maui County violated the law by injecting treated sewage from a wastewater treatment plant into the groundwater, some of which enters the Pacific Ocean. The high court will hear the county's appeal next fall.