In an article in the Gazette on May 6 titled "Short-Term Rentals Must Go" by our local "curmudgeon" Sal Torre, Mr. Torre really missed the mark on this one in his "Attack on Tourism" article.
Let's be very clear, an attack on tourism in Wilton Manors is an attack on the LGBT community.
I can't help but think the reason for Sal's continual "Attack on Tourism" is because he himself does not have an investment property. I'm sure his views would be very different if he did.
Mr. Torre seems to resent and continually attack residents and investors who choose to invest in our city, support our budget and provide a desperately needed service.
Mr. Torre’s article also indicates that vacation rental owners do not pay taxes — they do!
It is important to note that vacation rental owners typically pay four to five times more in Real Estate Taxes than most "homesteaded" residents, like Mr. Torre.
These tourism rentals are literally subsidizing the lower taxes that Mr. Torre benefits from. Taxes for vacation rentals generally increase 10% annually vs 3% for homestead owners.
If these tourism rentals chose to leave our city, taxes for year-round homeowners would skyrocket and be unaffordable for many of our residents.
It's important to note that Commission Members Paul Rolli and Gary Resnick have also been vocal and instrumental against tourism, including adopting City Code, to deter tourism from Wilton Manors.
The vacation rental ordinance supported by Rolli and Resnick (adopted with three previous commissioners) was a clear attempt to deter and force tourism out of Wilton Manors.
If you read the Vacation Rental Ordinance, it actually encourages vacation rentals in our single-family neighborhoods, by providing a total exemption if the owner resides there. Mr. Torre failed to mention this in his article.
Vacation rentals and AirBNB's in our single-family neighborhoods is a direct result of the ordinance supported and voted for by Resnick and Rolli.
Also, our current City Code DOES NOT PERMIT a smaller Boutique Style Hotel as a "Permitted Use" on Wilton Drive or any of our main corridors, further fueling the need for vacation rentals.
If you look at Rolli and Resnick’s voting record, it encourages and supports vacation rentals in our single-family neighborhoods. They should have read the ordinance before they voted to adopt it.
Mr. Torre could have provided these facts in an attempt to have our city support a hotel and support tourism, rather than to support Rolli and Resnick’s attempts to attack tourism in Wilton Manors.
The complete lack of support for tourism in Wilton Manors by Mr. Torre and these city leaders makes sure "Life is NOT Just Better Here."
– Marc Martorana