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The Lead Sept. 13, 2022: Short-term rentals return — haunting the Kerrville City Council

Yes, it's another discussion about the issue of short-term rentals.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by KPUB

Mark your calendar for Public Power Week Oct. 2-8, and the Bucket Truck Rides

The Kerrville Public Utility Board (KPUB) is hosting a family-friendly event to meet our heroes in hardhats while we celebrate Public Power Week!

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., to join us in Louise Hays Park for a free community event!

This will be a free community event with family-friendly activities that will include taking a ride in one of KPUB’s bucket trucks, arc & spark demos, line worker tool displays, photo ops with our linemen, face painting and more.

KPUB will be providing free hot dogs, chips and refreshments on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as a free t-shirt for the first 100 attendees. For more information:

Good morning, Kerr County!

There's a VERY slight chance of an afternoon thunderstorm today. We want to emphasize slight. If it doesn't rain, expect temperatures in the high 80s through the low 90s. There's really not much going on when it comes to the weather — sunny and reasonable.

On today's The Lead Live!

We welcome back Julie Davis, president of the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, who will fill us in on all the happenings around town. Amy Goodyear stops by to tell us about Friday's "Leading Ladies" performance at the Cailloux Theater. Here's Monday's show with Tom Fox and The Texas Hill Country Advisors:

Speaking of events

Today's schedule

Collegiate sports

  • Women's volleyball — Schreiner University, 6 p.m. The details: The Mountaineers, 4-4 on the season, play host to Hardin-Simmons University.

High school volleyball

  • Wagner at Tivy, 6:30 p.m.
  • Marble Falls at Ingram Tom Moore, 6 p.m.
  • Shiner St. Paul at Our Lady of the Hills, 6 p.m.

Live music

  • Vinyl Night — Inn of the Hills, 7 p.m. Information: (830) 895-5000 The details: Every Tuesday night, come out for a night of solid tunes and good company. Snacks are on the scene. Beer specials. Beefeater specials. New wines.

Art exhibits

Recurring events (Tuesday-Saturday)

  • Kerr Arts Exhibits — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: Three art exhibits. Paintings by James Crouse, "Images" KACC judged membership show, "Photoquest" a judged exhibit featuring images captured by members of the Kerrville Camera Club. Artists reception August 27th, 1–3 p.m.
  • 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, described 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.
  • Hill Country Arts Foundation Member's Show — Hill Country Arts Foundation, Ingram, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Information: The details: Featuring art by HCAF member artists.
  • To see the full week of events:

Upcoming Featured Events

The Kerrville Chalk Festival, Oct. 15-16, Kerrville City Hall.

Kerrville Chalk Festival is a family-friendly art event for the Texas Hill Country. More than 65 artists create large-scale chalk drawings directly on the pavement. Kerrville’s downtown becomes a festive canvas for local and regional artists, as wells as invited guest artists from around the United States.

The Festival has live music, many free activities, food trucks, as well as wine and craft beer. It attracts an estimated 10,000 attendees annually. Read about the history of chalk art.

Held at Peterson Plaza in the heart of downtown, the event encourages tourists and locals to dine, shop, and experience the beauty and charm of Kerrville, Texas.

The 2022 beneficiary is Kerrville Arts and Cultural Center (KACC). KACC was founded in 1995 by a group of artists with a mission of providing a show place for local artists and to further the arts and culture in the community. The Center is comprised of sixteen affiliated groups representing over 500 artists and has three distinct gallery spaces. It attracts over 20,000 visitors annually.

It's another discussion about Kerrville short-term rentals

The Kerrville City Council continues its march through short-term rental review at its 6 p.m. meeting tonight at City Hall. Depending on how you feel about it, it could be a purgatorial march because there appear to be no easy solutions.

To be clear, the City Council is poised to ban future short-term rentals in most residential areas. The rentals, used for stays shorter than 30 days, would be limited to residential transition, mixed-use, residential homes with an existing accessory unit, multi-family and the downtown arts and cultural district. In addition, none of these can have signage related to the business, must have a permit and appropriate parking and can't be within 250 feet of another property.

And if a short-term rental owner violates the conditions of the permit — a $2,000 fine could be in their future. At the heart of the permit is a 13-page outline of the rules and regulations for permit holders. The permit fee is to be determined. However, some of the stipulations are:

  • "The permittee shall provide fire escapes and exits that are maintained in good repair and accessible at all times in accordance with applicable fire codes, as amended."
  • "Post a sign in a conspicuous place within each inn or unit with information that includes the name and contact information of the owner and/or designated operator, the occupancy limits, and requirements set forth in the permit. The director will provide this "guest notification" form to each applicant."
  • "The permittee shall notify the department within 10 days after any material change in the contact information contained in the application for a permit to operate a bed and breakfast inn or short-term rental unit."

How this all plays out is to be determined, and the battles over short-term rentals are nothing new for most of the country.

Late last month, the conservative U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that municipalities could not restrict non-resident property owners from using their homes as short-term rentals. The courts have ruled both ways in short-term rental cases. And there is plenty of ambiguity about what is appropriate regulation. There are cases across the country trying to determine some way forward on the issue.

Some avenues could present predictive guidelines about the issue in Kerrville, including:

  • The city can argue that its zoning ordinances protect it in the ban of residential areas, where most short-term rentals now sit. The state initially created those zoning ordinances to allow municipalities to manage growth. However, the Texas Legislature is increasingly cool with the notion that cities have greater regulatory power.
  • Short-term rental and property owners could make a regulatory-takings claim to the courts. That means the Fifth Amendment guarantees private landowners the right to have limited government control over their property. However, the other argument is that you should understand the zoning regulations before you buy.

The City Council gets its first look at the revised ordinances during a 4 p.m. workshop today. We'll have full coverage of the meeting via our Facebook page.

Other agenda items to watch:

  • The City Council holds a second reading on its budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
  • The City Council returns to a controversial discussion about allowing (under court order) of a parking lot along Clay Street, which would provide overflow parking for a Sidney Baker Street strip mall (the home of Soaring Dragon restaurant).

More on short-term rentals and lodging

The next two weekends are mammoth when it comes to events, culminating with the 11th Kerrville Triathlon Festival. With that in mind, we wanted to look at lodging availability for Sept. 24-25 during the triathlon — let's say pickings are slim.

A cursory glance of found that only the Hampton Suites in Kerrville ($262 per night) and Ingram's Stablewood Springs Resort had availability. The La Quinta Inn, Best Western and Holiday Inn sold out. The Y.O. Ranch Hotel still had rooms available, but the cheapest was $194 per night.

On the short-term rental website, the availability is dwindling, but we did find a house to rent for the weekend near the triathlon's start along Guadalupe Street and Nimitz Lake — $749 per night.

Kerr County gives one year for city animal shelter deal

The Kerr County Commissioner's Court voted unanimously to extend an agreement with the city of Kerrville to provide animal control services for another year.

What was supposed to be a two-year deal with the city is now a one-year deal after Commissioner Don Harris said he has never been a fan of the agreement. The contract between the city and the county swaps services by allowing county residents to use the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library in exchange for the county providing animal control.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Jonathan Letz, who oversees the animal shelter, said he was fine with the one-year agreement because the shelter's future depends on voters passing a $5 million bond on Nov. 8. If voters reject Prop. C, one of three Kerr County bond measures, the county and city would probably need to come together to plot the future of animal control.

Another drunken weekend in Kerr County

Now, to believe some of the "policy experts," we're to believe that hordes of illegal immigrants are running amok in the streets of Kerrville, and there is some truth to the transport of said immigrants. However, the issue that keeps Kerr County's law enforcement community busy are drunks and drugs. In a weeklong period, 51% of the arrests were for drunk driving, drug possession or public intoxication.

Who is doing the smuggling? It increasingly looks like women

Kerr County Sheriff's deputies arrested four people on suspicion of human smuggling, but three of the four were women. However, Kerr County Sheriff's officials told The Lead this is not unusual. On Sept. 5, deputies arrested Melissa Sauceda, of San Antonio, on four counts of smuggling and Kianah Saintalbord of Brooklyn, New York, who was held on a $50,000 bond.

Speaking of drunken weekends

Arcadia Live announced that it booked a discussion of the movie "Napoleon Dynamite," with cast members Jon Heder, who plays Napoleon, Efren Ramirez, who plays Pedro, and (maybe the best part) John Gries, who plays the van-living Uncle Rico. The event is March 31, 2023 (a Friday night), so there is plenty of time to prepare.

If you haven't seen the movie, it's about a high school kid with bad shoes, bad hair and a strange sense of how to feed a llama. It's a rural story with quirky characters and plenty of peculiar behavior — most notably when Uncle Rico, still longing to play in the NFL, knocks Napoleon off a bicycle with a steak.


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