Code Compliance

Effective July 1, 2021 code inspectors are prohibited from initiating an investigation of a potential violation by way of an anonymous complaint.

To investigate, a complainant must have provided the complainant's name and address with the complaint to the "governing body" before an investigation occurs. The only exception is if there is reason for the investigator to believe a present and imminent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources has or is occurring.”

The prohibition of the investigation of anonymous complaints was adopted by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by the governor signed through an amendment to F.S. 162.21 and F.S. 166.0415.

Code Compliance

Village Administrative Center and Public Safety Headquarters
86800 Overseas Highway,
2nd floor,
Islamorada, FL 33036


The Code Compliance Department of Islamorada, Village of Islands, strives to preserve the Village’s unique way of life, protect property and environmental assets and ensure the continuation of a high standard of living within the Village for current and future residents,  property owners, and business owners. 

The Code Compliance Department is responsible for ensuring that the public observes and follows Village codes and ordinances.   The services the department provides include prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement of code violations. 

Code Compliance Officers respond to citizens’ complaints, aid in the dissemination of public information, and assist the public in the process of code compliance. 

Designation as a Code Compliance Officer does not confer the power of arrest or other law enforcement powers or subject the Code Compliance Officer to the provisions of F.S. Ch. 943.

Five-Level  Enforcement Priority System

To help ensure that the most serious violations are addressed expeditiously and effectively, the Code  Compliance Department has established the following rating scale to guide enforcement priorities.

  • Priority 1  - Immediate threats to public health, safety, or welfare.
  • Priority 2 - Environmental protection issues.
  • Priority 3 - Unpermitted construction and development activity.
  • Priority 4 - Nuisance complaints.
  • Priority 5 - Violations of land development regulations.

Note:  Enforcement of the Village’s Vacation Rental Ordinance is a primary focus at all times.

Village Code Sections Subject To Enforcement

Native Plant and Tree Removal

The regulations and requirements in this section of the Code are intended to preserve native vegetation and habitat for the propagation and protection of wildlife, birds, game, fish, and other aquatic life and for the enhancement of the aesthetic appearance and value of the village. Removal of trees increases surface runoff, which contributes to water pollution. Preservation of native plants and trees reduces stormwater runoff, reduces water consumption, reduces impervious surface area, conserves energy, increases tree canopy, and decreases ambient temperatures, thereby promoting public health and general welfare. Village Code Ch. 30,  Sec. 811-823 and Sec. 1611.

Sea Turtle Nesting

Islamorada’s turtle nesting season is from April 15 to October 31 every year. During that time, lights can discourage female sea turtles from coming ashore to nest and can cause sea turtle hatchlings to become disoriented. Hatchlings that head toward light often die from dehydration, exhaustion, predation, and passing cars. The regulations and requirements in Village Code, intended to protect sea turtle nesting habitats, include artificial lighting and placement of materials such as kayaks and beach furniture. Village Code Ch. 30, Sec. 1581-1587.

(View more information on our Sea Turtle Nesting page).

Unpermitted Construction Activity

The regulations and requirements in the Code are intended to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Permits are required as provided in the Florida Building Code for new commercial and residential construction, commercial and residential renovations, land clearing, the placement of fill, commercial and residential demolition, blasting, excavation, storage of materials, signs, fences, tie-downs of habitable structures and work subject to floodplain management requirements. Village Code Ch. 6, Sec. 61-69.


Growth of noxious uncultivated or non-native weeds, grasses, or undergrowth (other than protected species or native vegetation) over 12 inches in an average height above the surface of the ground is prohibited. The regulations and requirements in the code are intended to provide an efficient procedure for cleaning and mowing properties that are littered or overgrown so as to become unsightly, a nuisance, or a breeding ground for insects and rodents. Code Compliance Officers also address nuisances such as abandoned vehicles, boats, and trailers. Village Code Ch. 18, Sec. 31-37.

Vacation Rentals

The intent and purpose of this division of the Code is to protect single-family homes and residential neighborhoods from the adverse impacts of vacation rental uses. Vacation rental use of single-family and multi-family residential properties is allowed in future land use map categories identified in the Code for periods of 28 days or less when other conditions also identified in the Code are met. Annual registration is required. Village Code Ch.30 Sec. 1291-1299.


The regulations and requirements in this section of the Code are intended to promote and protect public health, safety, and general welfare by regulating existing and proposed signs on residential and commercial properties within the Village. The Code promotes and enhances the unique aesthetic character of the Village by reducing visual and light pollution, helping to visually organize the activities of the Village and lend order. Information regarding sign measurements and requirements prohibited signs, signs that require permits, and signs not requiring permits is presented in the Code in addition to information on nonconforming signs and sign variances. Village Code Ch. 30, Sec. 1431-1437.

Outdoor Merchandise Display

Outdoor storage and display areas as either a principal or an accessory use in connection with any lawfully established commercial use are permitted in designated zoning districts. There shall be no accessory outdoor storage or display by any person operating or conducting a different business than the principal business conducted at a location.  Outdoor display areas shall comply with each of the development standards identified in the Village’s Code.  Village Code Ch. 30, Sec. 1371-1377.

Distressed and Foreclosed Properties Registration Requirements

The Code Enforcement Department partners with third party vendors to combat neighborhood blight and enforce Islamorada’s regulations regarding distressed and foreclosed properties. Banks are required to register defaulted and foreclosed properties with the Village. To register a foreclosure property (or to file a citizen complaint regarding a property issue), please contact the Code Enforcement Department for any questions with respect to registration requirements, registration status, etc.

Code Enforcement Notification Of Violation And Hearing Process

The goal of the Code Compliance Department is to educate and seek voluntary compliance. 

Persons found to be in violation of the Village's Code are given notification of the violation and an opportunity to correct the situation. It is dependent on the nature and severity of the violation which type of notification will be given. 

Depending on the severity of a violation, the code enforcement process could begin with a conversation with an owner or tenant regarding the violation, method for compliance, as well as a reasonable time frame to comply.   

Notification may be in the manner of either a Verbal Warning, a Stop Work Order, a Courtesy Letter, a Notice of Violation and/or a Citation.   Most complaints are resolved after the initial contact.

If compliance cannot be attained, action by the Code Compliance Hearing Officer Special Magistrate may be warranted to pursue other resolutions for compliance.

The Special Magistrate is empowered to hear and resolve cases brought to them by the Code Compliance staff.  

Only Code Compliance Officers shall have the authority to initiate code proceedings as provided in sections 2-116 of the Village’s Code of Ordinances.  Code Compliance Officers remain readily available to provide ongoing education and guidance to the public regarding code violations and the enforcement process.