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Plano City Council bans new short-term rentals in most residential areas

Plano police made arrests related to a sex-trafficking ring at a short-term rental at Las Palmas Lane in September.
Jacob Wells
The Plano City Council voted to approve a short-term rental ordinance. Plano police made arrests related to a sex-trafficking ring at a short-term rental on Las Palmas Lane in September.

Plano residents who’ve asked city council members to take definitive action against short-term rentals for years finally got their wish.

The Plano City Council voted on Monday to pass citizen-proposed short-term rental regulations after hearing testimony from several members of the Texas Neighborhood Coalition’s Plano chapter. The ordinance, which was drafted by the group, bans new short-term rentals in single-family neighborhoods. Existing short-term rental properties that were present before Plano passed a temporary ban on short-term rentals will be allowed to continue operating. It also allows for short-term rentals with live-in managers in the city’s heritage districts.

The council also passed an ordinance that would require short-term rentals to register with the city and pay a registration fee. Current short-term rental owners in Plano have until August 1 to register their properties.

Members of the Texas Neighborhood Coalition have been a constant presence at Plano city council meetings for the past two years, urging the council to ban the properties in their neighborhoods after a brothel bust and a shooting at two Plano short-term rentals.

Tatiana Ramirez, who spoke at Monday’s meeting, said she and her family live in fear because of the short-term rentals on their street.

“When I step outside my door, I don't want to have strangers making threatening comments or ambushing my children,” Ramirez said.

Other Plano residents who live near short-term rentals that spoke of the meeting complained of parked cars blocking the street, broken glass in their front yards and even public urination at parties at short-term rentals.

Several speakers at Monday’s meeting warned that restricting short-term rentals would violate property rights enshrined in the constitution. Will Tarrant said that a small number of short-term rentals are the ones causing the problems.

“We don't, punish the overwhelming majority of people for the 1% causing problems on other issues,” Tarrant said. “Why would we do that on this particular issue?”

The council vote on banning new short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods was unanimous. But councilmember Rick Horne, a former Planning and Zoning Commissioner, said he had concerns that doing so infringes on property rights – even though he voted in favor of it.

“We’re either going to be sued now or sued later,” Horne said.

Carolyn King Arnold, the Dallas Mayor Pro Tem, said that Dallas shouldn’t back down on its ban of short-term rentals in neighborhoods because of potential legal battles.

“I fear no courts,” King 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 AmericaCorps 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.