Home Rule: There Is Not A “One Size Fits All” For Every Issue

By Joy Cooper Hallandale Beach Mayor

February 17, 2022

Did you know that last session our state legislators continued to erode our local authority when it comes to setting business regulations? May sound like a good move but frankly it is ripping apart our neighborhoods. I cringe every time I hear boasting about how we have become the most business friendly free state. What happens when businesses take front seat as opposed to residents? You have vacation rentals/party house popping up everywhere. Condos being converted to revolving apartments and businesses moving next door in once single-family peaceful neighborhoods.

Last year a law was passed that will allow any business to move in next door. How would you like a car rental business with cars parked all over the street and strangers coming in and out? How about a workout studio with 50 people taking a class? Car repairs in driveways? Well, they are coming to a house near you. I keep wondering if these legislators understand what they put in place in the guise of being business friendly.

Cities have, or should I say used to have, broad Home Rule Powers. This means that as a city we represent our residents. We listen and know what our citizens like. What Home Rule also addressed is the concept that there is not a “one size fits all” for every issue. Hallandale Beach is and urban area with all types of businesses and housing. Some communities do not even have businesses, and some may just have single family homes. What those neighborhoods want may be completely different. Well now they will have businesses too.

Two months ago, I asked staff to make sure we are moving swiftly forward with whatever regulations we can legally put into place to protect our homes and quality of life. This legislative session the state is trying to erode our powers even more by proposing that any city that adopts regulations trough ordinances will have to first do an impact analysis to see if the ordinance would impact business’s revenues by 15%. Question is, how do we prove it does or does not? What is worse if a business sues us for damages, we have to pay the legal fees for them bringing suit. This means that taxpayers have to pay for protecting their own city.

My biggest frustration has been the vacation rentals. Tuesday, we met with staff to review additional regulations. The home next to me was bought and owned buy a single family. They then sold it and now it's a vacation rental by owner. I came home at twelve noon to find over 30 cars parked everywhere. Music, noise, racing car engines. It turns out it was set up for a commercial shoot. The music was so loud we could hear the bass even through our hurricane windows.

Now I am not anti-business but typically they would have filed a permit. They did not. So, they were sited. We had this issue years ago with a company blocking intra-coastal access and filming at all hours of the day. So, we established a permit process and approval to address the impacts like today. The question arises, when will the madness stop.

Also, I am not fully against vacation rentals but typically they are for families that are visiting. I have stayed a VRBOs in Disney and other countries. What is happening in our city is something different. They are becoming mini hotels and used for all types of events. We have a registration and rules that are to be followed. These rules need to improve to address parking, noise, occupancy and safety.

I have spoken with many mayors in Broward County, and they too have the same issues. We were joking if these state representatives would see things differently if they had this taking place next to their homes. Better yet, their parent or grandparents’ homes. As residents you need to let your voices be heard. Contact the Governor’s office and stress, 'we know what we need.' Tallahassee is not Hallandale Beach.

Sharing a special thank you to Jessie Smatt our Golden Isles Tennis Center PRO and Barbara Southwick for organizing the first tennis tournament to be held at our new club. Forty players competed and had a blast playing drills and getting to know the great group of pros that Jesse has brought to the city. The event raised over $2000 dollars for the Hallandale Police Activities League. Thank you to Mo’s for the delicious bagels. We also had Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks provided for the group.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by phone or text at: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org. Or visit my Facebook and web-site at: www.MayorJoyCooper.com