The Lead July 26, 2022: Kerrville short-term rental debate continues — some more

The city holds a two-hour town hall meeting to determine its future policies around the increasingly bitter topic.

Good morning, Kerr County!

The weather is starting to look like Groundhog Day — the same thing over and over again. The next 10 days — hot. The next 10 nights — warm. Rain? Not a chance. Got it? We move on.

On today's The Lead Live!

After sitting through a two-hour town hall meeting, we thought it would be a good idea to spend a good chunk of today's show discussing Monday night's Kerrville City Council town hall meeting about short-term rentals. Today's show also allows us to discuss the shockingly flippant way the Kerr County Commissioners Court dismissed, making Juneteenth a paid holiday for county works. Texas Hill Country Advisors Andrew Gay joins us with the latest financial markets.


We're leaving you something to think about . . .

Things to do

The Arts

  • Kerr Arts and Cultural Center Art Exhibits — Kerr Arts Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: 830-895-2911 The details: Through Aug. 13, three different art exhibits. Paintings by LaRue, "Kerrville Fiber Artists," Fiber art show by local artists, "Hometown Crafts Teacher's Show," an exhibition featuring the work of local teachers, sponsored by Hometown Crafts and Gifts.
  • Luckenbach Legacy, Hondo's Daughter, Becky Crouch Patterson Exhibition — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: Becky Crouch Patterson, a fifth-generation Texan whose father was the legendary developer of historic tiny-town Luckenbach, made famous by Waylon Jennings's classic song, "Let's Go to Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love." This is Patterson's original art, which he describes as a marriage of Texas Folk Art and Fine Art, plus textiles, memorabilia and works from her life. In addition to her work, Hondo and Luckenbach artifacts fill three cases.

Public meetings

  • Kerrville City Council workshop — Kerrville City Hall, 4 p.m.
  • Kerrville City Council meeting — Kerrville City Hall, 6 p.m.


  • Heart of the Hills Tournament — Scott Schreiner Golf Course, TBD, through Friday. Information: The details: One of the most prestigious amateur-level golf tournaments contested in Texas is the annual Heart of the Hills Golf Tournament. Scott Schreiner Golf Course hosts this annual event.

Free Movie

  • "Encanto" — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 11 a.m. Information: 830-257-8422. The details: You will have a song stuck in your head for days.

Short-term rentals draw a packed house

Nikki Caines was the first speaker at Monday's meeting and came out against short-term rentals. She advocated for their outright ban. During the City Council and Mayoral races earlier this year, Caines backed the opponents of Joe Herring Jr. and Judy Eychner, background, including Brent Bates for mayor, who advocated eliminating the city's planning and zoning process. Caines is a frequent critic of the City Council.

If one thing is certain about Kerrville's ongoing debate about short-term rentals, there is still much to debate.

Drawing a standing-room-only crowd at the Dietert Center, the Kerrville City Council's town hall meeting about the contentious issue proved that there are two decidedly opposite camps.

The first camp lined up to speak first, definitively calling for an outright moratorium on the issuance of conditional-use permits that allow for short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.

The second group was the owners of short-term rentals, messaging that their business interests address market conditions not met by Kerrville's existing hotels and motels.

Somewhere in the middle of it all was the City Council, city staff and the planning and zoning commission to sort it all out.

Kerrville Mayor Judy Eychner tried to limit the complaining, instead urging speakers to present solutions during a public forum.

The advice went in one ear and out the other for many of the collective speakers.

What's clear is that significant opposition is emerging to short-term rentals. A new group, Texas Neighborhood Coalition, has launched a chapter in Kerrville — one aimed at limiting or banning the growth of the businesses.

The coalition has an active membership, along with chapters across the state — pushing back against some longheld beliefs that property rights are absolute.

That message was carried by 216th District Judge Pat Pattillo, speaking as a homeowner, who told the audience he objected to short-term rentals in his northwest Kerrville neighborhood on the grounds that one property owner's rights don't supersede those of others.

Pat Pattillo, who represents Kerr County as the 216th District Judge, came out against short-term rentals that infringed on the property rights of others.

However, there was also dilution to the argument when fear-mongering, something Eychner had warned against, came into play, including one man who said to keep the rapists confined to the hotels.

The comment, along with others, drew irritation from the short-term rental advocates, who pushed back by saying the market requires them to maintain their homes at an elite level to attract the highest prices.

On and on, it went through about 30 speakers over an hour.

Drew Paxton, the city's planning director, said he would compile the many suggestions gathered during the meeting and bring them back to the Aug. 4 planning and zoning commission meeting.

Quick-hit analysis: See you in court — maybe

We've provided the full video of Monday night's proceedings, but this discussion is far from over. The worst-case scenario is that this could end up in court. However, it's also one that other cities across Texas are wrestling with the same issue, and it's one that certainly cuts across Texas' party lines. We saw many people categorically rejecting the principle of property rights, trumping that of a collective neighborhood on Monday. The courts will decide this matter, but it would not be surprising if the courts struggle with this.

More City Council tonight

The Kerrville City Council hasn't had enough of each other this week, and today they embark on another meeting — this one a regular session.

The 6 p.m. meeting shouldn't be long, but it's got two significant items on the agenda. They are:

  • Approving an agreement with the Kerrville Independent School District to provide school resource officers to patrol the elementary school campuses.
  • Approving an agreement with construction company Freese and Nichols to serve as an agent on the public safety building. This approval gets some of the work started on the $45 million project.

We don't want to alarm anyone

We'll let the guy who wants to keep the rapists at the hotels do that, but this is a tad alarming — monkeypox.

Yes, if we haven't had enough to worry about, it seems that the fast-spreading monkeypox is in Texas. Here are some facts about it, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Texas has 220 reported cases of monkeypox. New York leads the nation in reported cases with 990.

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