Plano city council postpones vote on another short-term rental ordinance
The Plano City Council postponed a vote on a short-term rental registration ordinance for a second time.
The ordinance would have required short-term rental owners in Plano to register their properties with the city fee by Sept. 1 and fulfill inspection requirements or face a $500 fine. The council was supposed to vote on it the same day it passed a temporary ban on new short-term rentals, which went into effect last month and lasts until June 2024.
But the vote on the registration ordinance got tabled until Monday’s meeting – and now it’s postponed until Aug. 14.
Plano Mayor John Muns said the council decided to postpone the vote because of issues that were brought up in a closed executive session, including a bill passed in the Texas Legislature that requires municipalities to provide written notice of public hearings about public hearings on proposed changes or adoptions that impact the property.
Several neighborhood advocates from the Texas Neighborhood Coalition signed up to testify against the proposed ordinance at Monday’s city council meeting. Members of the organization have spoken out against short-term rentals at government meetings across Texas, including Plano’s city council.
The president of the coalition’s Plano chapter Bill France sent the city council a letter outlining the group’s concerns about the ordinance before the meeting. He noted that the proposed ordinance removed stipulations from previous versions, including a two-strike system that revoked a short-term rental’s registration after two nuisance incidents.
France urged the Plano City Council to follow Dallas’ example. Dallas passed a short-term rental ordinance that bans them in single-family zoned neighborhoods. It also passed a registration ordinance for short-term rentals in multi-family zoned neighborhoods. Both of the ordinances went into effect immediately after the vote.
“The city of Plano should have an ordinance at least as strong as the Dallas ordinance,” France said.
Catherine Q. Parker from the coalition told KERA in an email the proposed ordinance is weak because it doesn’t revoke short-term rental registrations permanently.
“This means that the brothel and the party house with [the] shooting could reopen as STRs following a brief suspension and paying a $500 fine,” Parker said.
There was a shooting at a party outside a short-term rental in Plano’s Oakwood Glen neighborhood in late February. No one was injured, but a bullet pierced through the window of a three-year-old’s playroom. Another short-term rental on Las Palmas Lane was involved in an alleged sex-trafficking bust last year.
Plano’s city council has listened to hours of testimony from residents who lived near the short-term rentals where the shooting and sex-trafficking arrests occurred. But the council didn’t pass the city’s temporary ban until months after the shooting. And the city’s short-term rental task force won’t have feedback available until well into 2024.
City council member Julie Holmer and deputy Mayor Pro Tem Maria Tu have cautioned banning short-term rentals because of potential lawsuits. Grapevine is being sued over its short-term rental ban. The Texas Supreme Court is expected to hear the case. Arlington was also sued over its short-term rental ordinance that limited their location to the city’s entertainment district. An appeals court ended up ruling in the city’s favor.
But Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn King Arnold said that Dallas shouldn’t back down on the issue because of a potential legal fight when the city passed its ban.
“I fear no courts,” Arnold said. “I am here because of a court. Somebody had to fight so I could be here…so I don’t mind fighting.”
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Caroline Love is a Report For America corps member for KERA News.
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