Special magistrate rules in favor of city

Special magistrate rules in favor of city
Attorney Michael Connolly serves as the city of Holmes Beach’s special magistrate during a July 31 code compliance hearing. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – There were eight cases on the docket for a code compliance special magistrate hearing July 31. Six cases were granted a continuance to a Sept. 11 hearing. The continuance requested for the additional two cases was denied and the two were heard and ruled on by Special Magistrate Michael Connolly.

The two cases that were heard both concerned properties owned by Anthony Properties Inc. The allegations against the properties, 302 28th St. and 402 28th St., included advertising for a length of stay less than 30 days and renting the properties for less than 30 days at a time. Both properties are in the R-1 zone which is only allowed to have rentals of 30 days or more. Neither property has a vacation rental certificate issued by the city.

Speaking for the property owner, who was absent from the hearing, was executive assistant Stacey Dorsey who asked for a continuance for both cases due to her employer’s absence on a family trip. Connolly denied the request, saying that with a notice of hearing mailed, posted at city hall and posted on the residence on July 4, the property owner had more than enough time to request a continuance prior to his trip. The request for a continuance was received by code compliance officers July 26.

In the case against the property owner at 302 28th St., Code Compliance Officer Nate Brown said that online the property is advertised as a minimum of three-night rental and that he was able to book the property for three nights. He said that booking for the property of three nights was disabled the day prior to the hearing. Code Compliance Officer James Thomas also testified that he had observed at least two times where the property was rented for less than 30 days. The first notice of violation was placed at the property on May 23.

The case against Anthony Properties at 402 28th St. contained much of the same information with officers providing photographic evidence that the property has been rented for less than 30 days at a time and that online advertising has been identified advertising the property for rent for a minimum of three-night rentals. Brown said that he was able to secure a reservation for the property for the three-night minimum online though that function was disabled on the advertisement the day prior to the hearing. He said that the advertisements for both properties stated a three-night minimum stay.

In both cases, Connolly ruled that the property owner has until Aug. 7 to correct the issues at the properties or a $250 per day fine per property will begin on Aug. 8 and continue until the issues are corrected. Also in both cases, the property owner was instructed to pay the $127.24 administrative fees for each case.

Both cases were placed on the Sept. 11 special magistrate hearing docket for an update.