Hotel definition debate
A debate over what defines a hotel has arisen in recent years as the beach communities of Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach have reached the maximum number of residential units allowed by Escambia County building caps. The caps were put in place to prevent overdevelopment in the form of high-rise condominiums, but hotels (which are not counted as residential units) provided a loophole. Many beach residents have worried that developers would get around the caps by building ostensible hotels and selling high-end suites to investors — effectively indistinguishable from a condominium.
On July 19, 2007, the Escambia County Commission unanimously passed an ordinance extending the maximum stay of condo owners to twelve weeks a year (from two weeks previously) and capping the number of hotel rooms larger than 850 square feet (at about 730 units).