221 Grant Drive, Sarasota, one of the large vacation rentals on Lido Key that has frustrated nearby residents.

Image: Gene Pollux

New rules intended to deter the spread of so-called "hotel houses" in residential neighborhoods on Lido and St. Armands keys were given final approval on Tuesday by the Sarasota City Commission.

The city took action after residents of the barrier islands voiced complaints about the construction of several large vacation rentals, which are rented out by the week and advertised as being able to sleep as many as 25 people. The new rules limit the number of guests who can spend the night in a vacation rental to 10 or 12, and also require the owners of the properties to register with the city and identify "responsible parties" who can be contacted to respond to complaints about noise and other issues.

City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch pushed most forcefully for passing the new rules, arguing that large vacation rentals bring commercial activity into residential neighborhoods. "These neighbors have suffered," she said. "And I think it is essential that we stop this immediately and give them relief immediately."

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