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Sarasota asked to limit stays at "hotel houses"

Neighbors say the number of homes with dozens of guests keeps multiplying in their beach neighborhoods. Now they want the city commission to put a cap on guests.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Neighbors are tired of seeing houses turn into hotels in their beach neighborhoods at Saint Armands and Lido Key. The hotel houses are rented out a week at a time, packing in 25 to 30 people, and creating a bunch of noise at all hours of the day and night. 

The president of the St. Armands Residents Association, Chris Goglia, says it should be illegal to have so many people staying in one place, citing Sarasota’s household living ordinance. So, homeowners have asked the Sarasota City Commission to limit how many people can stay overnight like other Florida cities. He says otherwise, the problem keeps multiplying.

“A year and a half ago, it was only one of these hotel houses. Within six months of that, there were six of them," Goglia said. “What we've now figured out is this same group owns 20 properties out here. Six of them are operating as hotel houses. Six of them have just been knocked down and being rebuilt as we think new hotel houses, and the other six are probably next so if the city doesn't stop this, there's no end in sight.”

We reached out to Lido Key Vacations about the ordinance. Spokesperson Adam Mott says, "Lido Key Vacations remains committed to finding common ground with the City of Sarasota in addressing neighborhood concerns surrounding not just our properties, but also the many vacation rentals within the City of Sarasota. Our industry continues to grow not just in Sarasota but across the state of Florida and now is the time to support professionally managed properties that are regulated in a fair and balanced manner either at the local level or with the state of Florida.”

Mott tells us the three to eight bedroom vacation homes Lido Key Vacations manages have occupancies between 9 and 19, depending on the home, and don’t allow guests to exceed that.

Neighbors first asked the city in January 2020 to take action. Goglia says an ordinance was suggested back in September. When the commission reviewed it in February, there were some changes suggested. 

A city spokesperson says it has taken some time because the city commission needed to give direction, then allow time for research and drafting an ordinance in between other businesses. 

Now, the city will review it again on April 6th.  

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