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The Lead July 12, 2022: Short-term rentals back in front of Kerrville City Council

There are 2 on the agenda, but the discussion about these rentals is far from over.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Monday was a record-hot one that had some interesting dips and rises during the day. Weather Underground pegged the high at 103 degrees — topping the old record of 100. Those dips came in the afternoon when a thunderstorm made its way across Kerr County, dropping rain in some places, providing gusty winds in others and lowering the temperature by about 20 degrees. The cooler temps didn't last long because the heat roared back in the late afternoon and early evening. The weather will continue to be hot and sticky for the rest of the week.

On today's The Lead Live!

We are taking a one-hour cruise on Lake Nimitz with the Hill Country River Rat, a pedal-powered paddle boat. This will be an all-star cast of characters with Texas Hill Country Advisors Andrew Gay and Gilbert Paiz, Kerrville City Councilwoman Brenda Hughes, Kerrville Pets Alive! President Karen Guerriero, along with her husband Layng, who is serving on a city task force to study more usages for the lake, Longtime community reporter Irene Van Winkle, Kerr Konnect's Georgianna Itz, Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Julie Davis and we'll pick up Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing's Kristin Hedger from the dock at the 1011 Bistro. The fun starts at 9 a.m.

Tell us how we're doing!

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Blood drive today at the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau

With blood supplies running low, the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center are partnering to host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the visitors center parking lot.

Donors are encouraged to register before attending by visiting Donors with a minimum age of 16 must weigh 120 pounds and have a legal guardian present. Donors who are 17 must weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and present a photo ID.

The recent events from the May 24 mass murder of school children and teachers in Uvalde proved a motivation for the KCVB to host the blood drive. Staff member Leslie Jones, a regular on The Lead Live, is from Uvalde and attended Robb Elementary School as a child, and the staff said they felt it was imperative to host the drive. Potential Donors are also encouraged to check out for more information about the process and eligibility.

The never-ending discussion about short-term rentals moves forward once again

There are two short-term rentals on tonight's agenda for the Kerrville City Council, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the conversation about their appropriateness in Kerrville is gathering steam.

As the City Council preps for a July 25 town hall meeting at the Dietert Center to gather feedback about the issue, both the Council and the planning and zoning commission receive regular pushback against short-term rental approval.

The framing of the issue is like this opposition letter presented to the Council on a short-term rental approval for a home at 1203 Donna Kay.

"We believe the daily rental of single-family housing changes the traffic and stability of single-family neighborhoods," wrote Mike McBain, a neighbor.

It's a classic argument on drawing the line on property rights — yes, you have a property right, but not to infringe on my property. Balancing is a tricky issue in Texas and across the country.

In Plano, city officials had 34 complaints about noise, alcohol or drug use in 2022. The city is now considering a registration system.

An advocacy group called TX Neighborhood Coalition, formed in 2017, keeps track of the growth of short-term rentals, including those in Fredericksburg, where there are an estimated 1,900 short-term rentals.

"Do not be fooled by STR operators who make fraudulent statements about court cases or state laws or private property rights," the group says on its website. "We can provide you with the facts."

The coalition has chapters in Arlington, Austin, College Station, Coppell, Dallas, Fredericksburg, Fort Worth, Galveston, Grapevine, Plano, Richardson, San Antonio and Southlake.

In Dallas, the group uses yard signs saying, "Houses not Hostels."

Arlington, home of Six Flags and pro sports, won a major victory over short-term rentals in January when the Texas Supreme Court refused an appeal by short-term rental owners to lift Arlington's outright ban on rentals in residential neighborhoods.

"Here in Texas and elsewhere, STR owners and front groups have made sweeping and unfounded assertions that municipalities are legally powerless to protects their citizens from the problems STRs frequently generate," the coalition wrote. "They assert that they have an almost unbounded "property right" to use their property for short-term rentals regardless of what the zoning ordinances may say."

The battle, however, is far from over because the Texas Republican Party's plank featured wording to lift short-term rental regulations. Efforts by short-term rental advocates to remove regulations have fallen short in the legislature.

And it's not just Texas that's wrestling with this.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, one of that state's most popular tourist destinations, capped short-term rentals at 1,000 units, required annual renewals and has a long list of other requirements.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the city is treading carefully on the matter after the state's Court of Appeals struck down a Wilmington law limiting rentals to within 400 feet of each other. Charlotte found it has 3,500 short-term rentals, with almost no regulation and often furious neighbors.

Massive San Bernardino County, home to the bulk of Southern California's ski resorts, has always been a short-term rental destination. It's also home to Joshua Tree National Park, and short-term rentals nearby exploded — with hundreds of homes snatched up by investors. So, county officials there did a very California thing — they attached a raft of new fees to try to slow their growth.

The plan was to make it more expensive for short-term private home rental with these permits:

  • Initial permit application, $600
  • Permit fee, $285
  • Annual renewal, $600
  • Surrounding property owner notification fee, $485
  • Noise monitoring device one-time fee credit for outdoor monitoring, $150.

Cities and counties have instituted 24-hour hotlines to file complaints against short-term renters.

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