The Code Enforcement Department was busy in South Beach in 2015 and we thank Peggy Arraiz and her staff for their efforts on our behalf. They are spread very thin and it is often hard to balance the demands of the entire city and the relative urgency of issues in different parts of the city. But, 172 violations were issued in South Beach at 129 addresses in 2015, indicating a number of addresses had multiple violations issued. Of those, 113 have been brought in to compliance, 46 remain active and 13 were closed. Several new active cases were opened early in 2016, including the painting of the wall on Crestview and Ocean, which was completed before the Annual Meeting, and a couple of major mowing violations. You have probably seen a number of other mowing and nuisance notices posted around the community.
The 2015 violations fell in to the following general categories:
- Lack of required permits – 39
- Inoperable or other violating vehicles – 7
- Improper outside storage – 19
- Landscape, lot clearance, mowing and open space violations – 28
- Conditional use approval required – 7
- Doing business without tax permit – 20
- Failure to be responsible for containers (trash & recycle) – 9
- Unlicensed contractors – 2
- Failure to maintain property – 7
- Comment only or other, including unsafe equipment, fence maintenance, pool barrier violation, sea turtle lighting, sign maintenance, house number violation, and nuisance as a condition – 34
Violations were found on 29 different streets in South Beach, so no area is immune to issues. The most frequent violations were:
- On Bayshore Dr. – 8
- On Binney – 14
- On Coconut – 5
- On Fernandina – 4
- On Francis Court – 9
- On Granada – 7
- On Hernando – 19
- On Ocean Dr. – 30
- On Rio Vista – 9
- On Seaway – 11
- On Surfside Dr. – 8
- In Thumb Point – 11
- In Ocean Village – 11
These 13 streets and neighborhoods collectively accounted for 146 of the 172 actions.
The single biggest issue in South Beach for Code Enforcement during the year was the short term vacation rentals, all of which were in violation absent business licenses or tax licenses or collection of sales and tourism taxes, when required, and in violation of the ordinance prohibiting rental for less than six months without a Conditional Use Waiver. Some details have been separately reported in Association member updates and discussed 2015 Overview . A number of SBA members and other residents assisted us by appearing and/or speaking at Planning Board or Commission meetings and your support is very much appreciated. Excellent progress has been made and Code Enforcement continues to research and identify both new and repeat violators. As you already know, a change in R4A Zone requirements to help on this issue is in progress and will go to the Planning Board and Commission after review of a couple of legal matters.
The issue is not whether or not to allow short term rentals, which are probably inevitable in our community, but where to allow them and how to control them thru proper licensing for the integrity of our residential neighborhoods and the safety and security of the tenants and how to ensure tax collection to fund the badly needed infrastructure to support growing tourism in our community.
As always, if you know of issues let me know. Contact information is on the web site. I will work with Code Enforcement on your behalf, maintain follow up, and keep you informed of what is being done or why nothing appears to be happening that you can obviously see.
Bruce A. Murray
Code Enforcement Chair