On Nov. 14, 2022, 100 people gathered at the Casino for the first of three town halls, called Gulfport on the Edge. From the feedback and questions raised during the conversations, it became apparent that some people aren’t aware of some City policies, actions and limitations. The following information will address some of the issues.
Concerns About Environmental Resiliency The City has applied for a grant to conduct a resiliency/vulnerability study. The City is doing a two-year study on storm water runoff and flooding.
Short-Term Rentals and Rent Control On Oct. 20 Council held a workshop on short-term rentals and rent control. The video is at mygulfport.us/councilmeetings (use 2022 tab, or use this link). The City purchased software to identify short-term rentals and has hired an additional code enforcement officer. Daily and weekly rentals are allowed only in a small area along Beach, Shore, and parts of Gulfport Boulevard. Monthly rentals are allowed everywhere in the city, with rentals under a month limited to three per year.
Trolley The Trolley stopped running during the COVID-19 pandemic because it was difficult to find licensed drivers. The City is preparing a smaller, more cost-effective GEMS vehicle for use.
Why aren’t other Councilors attending? Florida Sunshine laws prevent councilmembers from attending other councilmembers Town Halls. Ward 1 City Councilmember April Thanos is sponsoring these events. This allows use of City facilities and staff support.
Building Styles and Size Design Guidelines (Municode Section 22-5.15), were created in 2004 to maintain consistent character with surrounding structures. New homes do comply with Gulfport’s current size, setbacks, and other regulations. A recent Florida lawsuit about reducing size of buildings may make the City liable if it limits owners’ ability to get the “highest and best use of their property.”
Removal of Trees Gulfport has a very tree-friendly ordinance on the books. (Municode Article XX Trees) The State preempted it, allowing any tree designated “diseased or a danger” by a licensed arborist to be removed and not replaced. If a builder removes “healthy” trees, they are required to replace them. Invasive trees can always be cut. Many laurel oaks planted more than 50 years ago are reaching the end of their natural lives.
Homelessness When City staff, EMTs, or police officers encounter unhoused people, they advise them of all services available to them. The City is also hiring a social worker to help with this issue. City is addressing the homeless situation at the beach and elsewhere.
Events Promotion/Communications The City publishes a weekly newsletter on Mondays with City, Gulfport Merchants Chamber, and other events. Sign up for it at mygulfport.us.
Affordable Housing: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) City codes allow for small cottages or ADUs to be built if they follow the codes and lot requirements. Currently, only large lots comply with the codes. Find more information in the Municode Section 22-6.03.
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