Miami Beach has cited the owners of the Belle Isle Key apartments for violating city restrictions on short-term rentals. The offense carries a $20,000 fine.
The city code compliance division ordered that marketing of the apartment units stop immediately. As many as 12 apartment units in the complex were being booked like hotel suites through the website for Vista Mare South Beach, as well as booking engines Hotels.com, Expedia.com, Booking.com, bookit.com and TripAdvisor.com.
The Vista Mare site, which was run by Jason Mamane, has shut down.
The problem with the short-term rentals was disclosed last month at a meeting hosted by the Belle Isle Residents Association, at which EuroAmerican presented plans to knock down the 120-unit apartment complex and replace it with two new buildings that would include 172 rental apartments and a hidden parking garage.
At that meeting, residents of the existing complex complained about the short-term rentals, which they said reflected onj EuroAmerican’s credibility.
In a followup to the meeting, the BelleIsleBlog.com found the Vista Mare website,\ and spoke to Mamane, who said he had the owners consent to rent the units on a daily basis — and noted that he had been paying resort taxes to the city of Miami Beach, which he considered an assurance the short-term rentals met city rules.
But the city’s website, under “Vacation / Short-term Rentals” says, “vacation/short-term rentals are prohibited in all single-family homes and in many multi-family housing buildings in certain zoning districts of Miami Beach.”
And Miami Beach Planning Director Thomas Mooney confirmed that 31 Venetian Way “is zoned RM-1 and does not have any special permit or approval to engage in short term rentals.”
BelleIsleBlog.com also revealed Airbnb listings for Belle Isle Key, from a different landlord.Those listings also are no longer available.
After the complex was cited by Code Compliance, records show that Vista Mare South Beach Inc applied for a short-term rental permit from the city. No action has been taken on the permit. The fines will be reveiewed by a special master.
Meanwhile, EuroAmerican is scheduled to appear before the Miami Beach Design Review Board on May 4 with its renovation plan.
The proposal calls for two five-story buildings. The existing complex is three stories tall.