In a recently rare 3-2 vote, the Kerrville City Council moved forward with a plan to limit short-term rentals to specific parts of the city.
During Tuesday's meeting, City Councilmembers Joe Herring and Brenda Hughes joined Mayor Judy Eychner to approve restricting short-term (or vacation) rentals to higher density multifamily zones, mixed-use, residential transition, the downtown arts and cultural district and to residential areas where an accessory dwelling is allowed.
Short-term rentals would be permitted by "right" in those areas while banished in single-family, medium-density and residential estate zones. Those with the city's conditional-use permit to operate a short-term rental in the restricted areas will continue to be allowed to run their business.
But this was not an easy decision for the City Council, and short-term rental owners argued the city rushed the process. Before casting a dissenting vote, Councilmember Kim Clarkson said she remained uncomfortable with the speed of the ordinance.
"I know you've done everything you can to draft an ordinance," Clarkson said. "I still don't find a level of comfort to pass this on second reading."
Despite disagreements earlier in the meeting, Clarkson and Councilmember Roman Garcia unified to vote against the ordinance.
However, the process of short-term rentals is far from over, and the city formed an ad-hoc committee to help determine rules and regulations for future short-term rental permits. The nine-member committee has to work fast because their recommendations are due by Nov. 8.
Garcia and Clarkson appointed themselves to the committee along with Jim Caines, Keri Wilt, Kim Richards, Karen Sides, Robin Perrin, Linda Stone and Maggie Magee, who will chair the group. The committee's mission is to attempt the following:
- Protect renters' safety by ensuring insurance, egresses and fire safety.
- Compliance with the city of Kerrville's occupancy tax per Texas law.
- An ability to address nuisance properties or situations.
- Protecting the privacy of neighbors.
- How to deal with suspensions of permits.
- And to ensure the plan meets the Kerrville 2050 plan.