[Email address: allandalereporter #AT# yahoo.com - replace #AT# with @ ]by Tom Linehan [Email address: allandalereporter #AT# yahoo.com - replace #AT# with @ ]
There is not much new to report with regard to efforts to do something about short-term-rentals (STRs). The City is still in the information gathering stage. I attended the Planning and Development Review Department's public meeting on STRs last Thursday, January 27 held at the City's offices on One Texas Center. The room was packed with over 100 people in attendance. There were a number of short-term rental owners all with testimonials of the value of their properties and neighborhood representatives and STR neighbors wanting something done about them.
A number of Allandale residents were there. I recognized 10 people from Alladale at the meeting including a couple that owns STR properties. Allandale residents Joe Reynolds, Donna Beth McCormick and Maurice Anderson spoke in opposition to STRs. Donna Beth said she has owned long-term rental properties in the neighborhood for many year and has never had a problem with them. She said people "want to know their neighbors. They are interested in preserving the quality of life in the neighborhood." Short-term rentals, she said, "need to be studied and regulated." People from other neighborhoods opposed to STRs complained about late night parties, traffic problems, lax code enforcement, parking problems, and, in one case, fireworks.
The STR owners came prepared. They had stories about famous movie producers (Coen Brothers) and actors (Elijah Wood) as well as people visiting loved ones using Austin STRs. They gave testimonials about the benefits of the short term rental business which they say generate tax revenue, support local businesses, and are better maintained than long-term rentals. Many of the renters testifying said they have rules against parties in their rental agreements.
A bed and breakfast owner complained the regulations for B&B owners are much stricter than ones for STRs and wanted that addressed.
There were 30 speakers signed up at the meeting scheduled for 6:00-7:30 Thursday evening at One Texas Center and more wanting to get on the list. At the midway point, the meeting moderator strongly encouraged the remaining speakers to limit their remarks to new information as opposed to repeating what had been said.
The purpose of the meeting was for the City's Planing and Review department to collect information and ideas from stakeholders. They encouraged people to continue to submit their comments to the department. In the meantime, someone suggested that people having problems with a STR should communicate it to the owner. You can find a more detailed accounting of the meeting from Friday's article in the Austin American-Statesman, "Meeting about short term home rentals draws a crowd," by Juan Castillo.