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Plano City Council postpones vote on short-term rental ordinance

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The Plano city council postponed a vote on a proposed short-term rental ordinance.

Regulating short-term rentals was on the agenda for Plano city council’s Monday night meeting. But “additional information” prompted a delay.

Opponents had claimed the proposed ordinance violated current laws, but it was unclear whether or not that played any role in the decision to postpone a vote.

“We just wanted to let the audience know that one of the reasons why we had to go back into executive session was we have some additional information we need to receive regarding short-term rentals,” Mayor John Muns announced at the meeting. “And so, it will be the intention of this council to table this item.”

But the council continued with a public hearing on the issue.

The proposed ordinance outlines registration and inspection requirements for owners of short-term rentals to follow — and consequences for breaking those rules.

The Texas Neighborhood Coalition wants to ban short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. The group sent council members an email on Sunday that says the new ordinance violates the city’s current zoning ordinance, which bans hotels in residential areas and requires land and building use in residential areas to fall under purposes listed in the ordinance.

The coalition also says the new ordinance constitutes a major change to zoning laws. Citing the Texas Local Government Code, it claims that changes to zoning must be considered by the city’s planning and zoning committee before a full council vote. And the coalition says that there must be at least 15 days advance notice for a mandatory public hearing.

The letter warns of consequences for failing to follow the code and still passing the ordinance.

“The proposed change to zoning regulations would be illegal and open the city up to litigation by Plano residents, litigation that in our view would have great merit,” the letter said.

Property owners have sued other Texas cities over their short-term rental ordinances. Grapevine has a case headed to the Texas Supreme Court after trying to ban short-term rentals. Arlington and Austin also faced lawsuits over their short-term rental regulations.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed arguments on behalf of short-term rental owners in both of those cases. Paxton argued the regulations violated the property owners’ constitutional rights.

Muns said in an interview with KERA that there’s legal precedent that keeps cities from banning short-term rentals. He said he understands people’s concerns, but the issue is complicated.

“I don't think there's a black and white issue,” he said.” There’s a lot of gray area here, and we have to really be careful not to infringe on property rights.”

Got a tip? Email Caroline Love at clove@kera.org.

Caroline Love is a Report For America corps member for KERA News.

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Caroline Love covers Collin County for KERA and is a member of the Report for America corps. Previously, Caroline covered daily news at Houston Public Media. She has a master's degree from Northwestern University with an emphasis on investigative social justice journalism. During grad school, she reported three feature stories for KERA. She also has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Christian University and interned with KERA's Think in 2019.