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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2017 1 year ago

OPINION: County uses scare tactics to make vacation rentals look worse than they are

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What are your neighbors talking about?

County officials attempt to mislead public on vacation rentals

Dear Editor:

I am writing concerning the current dispute between the county and the state of Florida regarding short term vacation rental homes in Palm Coast.

Please allow me to give the citizens of Palm Coast and Flagler County a true, hands-on account of the realities of vacation rentals in the Hammock Beach/Cinnamon Beach neighborhoods.

My wife and I are small business owners in Palm Coast. We operate a cleaning company in the city, and one of our customers is Vacation Rental Pros. For the last four years, we have cleaned vacation rental homes and condos for the company. As such, I believe our first-hand experience in this area should carry a lot of weight, and it contrasts sharply with the opinions of our Flagler County commissioners.

First of all, the officials' statements in the March 23 edition of the Palm Coast Observer make it sound as if these rental homes are occupied by wild, partying groups of up to 20 people that cause noise and mayhem. This could not be further from the truth! It is just not true. The largest home in the area that I am aware of has an occupancy limit of 14 people. And actually, the average number of occupants in these homes and condos is closer to six.

These vacation homes and condos are, by and large, rented by fine, upstanding families from places like Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and more. These families come here to enjoy the warm weather, the beach, the restaurants, parks and everything else Palm Coast has to offer. They visit European Village. They visit all of the restaurants and shops up and down A1A. They spend their hard earned money in every area of the community. Isn't this what we want for the city of Palm Coast and the surrounding areas? 

I find it reprehensible that our county commissioners have twisted and exaggerated the facts in this matter. The atmosphere that they want you to envision simply does not exist. They don't mention the fact that the area is patrolled by a private security company 24 hours a day. Vacation Rental Pros also patrols the area twice a day, making sure the properties and the public streets remain clean. And it works. This area of Palm Coast is probably the cleanest, and the safest area in the county.  

To suggest, as the county commissioners are doing, that this is a problem for our community, is absurd. County Attorney Al Hadeed, for example, should be ashamed of himself for making the following statement: "If there is a fire and people die or are seriously injured, that's on their watch" (meaning the state of Florida). Shame on you, Mr. Hadeed, and shame on all of you county commissioners for trying to flex your muscles about this "non issue." When, sir, was there a fire or death from a fire in the Hammock? When? Please tell us.

In this country, a homeowner has the right to do whatever he wants with his property, as long as he or she obeys and respects the laws and the ordinances of the community. And that includes offering his property for rent to family vacationers, or anyone else for that matter, at any rate he deems appropriate, either by the week, by the month, or by the year, in a safe and pleasant atmosphere. This is exactly what is occurring in Hammock Beach and Cinnamon Beach, contrary to what you officials are falsely portraying. You busybody county commissioners need to get your facts and figures right, and quit trying to mislead the community. Shame on you all.

I hope the state of Florida prevails in this matter, as it should.

Tony and Kathy D'Amico

Palm Coast

 

Nelson put party above country by voting against Gorsuch

Dear Editor:

(Editor’s Note: This letter was also sent to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.)

I understand you have decided to not vote for Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court?

This man is extremely qualified and is the replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia that America needs!

You swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. Please put the USA first and foremost before your party! A yes vote is what is right for America!

Gary and Kathy Owens

Palm Coast

 

Our representatives in Congress need to stop EPA cuts

Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my strong objections to the proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and to urge U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and our two Florida senators to fight for more funding for the agency. The president’s budget proposes a staggering 31% cut.

The fact that many of our waterways are now fishable and swimmable is because of the excellent work of the EPA. Our state will no longer be the “Fishing Capital of the World” if we roll back environmental protections. If anything, we need more, not less, federal dollars and oversight to clean up nutrient pollution and the toxic algal blooms that plague the Indian River Lagoon and other Florida water bodies.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has been a strong champion of environmental issues, but DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio need to be stronger advocates. Our economy and quality of life in Florida depend on clean water. Now is the time to let our representatives in Washington know how we feel about the important work of the EPA.

Patty Scott

Palm Coast

Send letters to [email protected].

 

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