Peter Willott / St. Augustine Record

FL - St. Johns County Residents Say Short-Term Rentals Are Affecting Their Quality of Life

Officials grapple with vacation rentals

Barbara and David Goldberg moved to their Anastasia Island home more than 10 years ago looking for a quiet residential area, and they found it.

But the spread of vacation rentals in St. Johns County in the past few years has affected them negatively, bringing large crowds, events and noise to the neighborhood, they said. The county government's current approach to addressing complaints hasn't brought relief, and they said they're hoping more regulations will be put in place soon.  

“You basically work all your life. You save your money. You retire from your job. You move to your dream home to a desired residential area," David Goldberg said to St. Johns County's Planning and Zoning Agency. "Then you find, as we did 10 years later, the house next door is sold. It’s revamped. … The house is now a mini hotel. It ruins your dreams. It ruins your quality of life.”

Local governments are trying to address complaints about vacation rentals through new regulations, attempting to strike a balance between respecting property rights and protecting quality of life. St. Johns County has an ordinance on the way, and the city of St. Augustine has already begun enforcing new rules.

Some say that the number of vacation rentals is turning residential areas into commercial enterprises, with companies buying up properties in neighborhoods to create "mini hotels." People complain of big beachside homes packed with guests that cause noise and parking issues.

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