Another Dallas Short-Term Rental Delay After Plan Finally is Debated at City Council

Long discussion at Dallas City Council Tuesday

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Four years of debate over short-term rentals in Dallas communities finally reached the city council Tuesday and the result of long discussion is another delay in a final vote.

City Manager T.C. Broadnax said he did not hear clear consensus from city council members and it will take at least until April 19 to schedule another briefing at which more answers to detailed questions could be provided.

One issue is the inclusion of multi-family areas in the zoning prohibition for short-term rentals that was put before members Tuesday.

Some thought those areas should not be excluded.

The zoning plan on the table would forbid short-term rentals in all residential neighborhoods, leaving only a few dozen of the thousands of STRs believed to be operating in Dallas.

To sound off on the emotional issue that has been brewing for so long, 73 people on both sides signed up to speak to the city council.

Opponents wore white t-shirts that said “Homes Not Hotels” to refer to their view that short-term rentals quality as lodging that is already improper in single-family neighborhoods.

Opponent Anga Sanders compared the city ignoring short-term rentals to a broken marriage that will drive long-term homeowners away.

“This is a relationship, a long-term relationship. You’re cheating on us, and we’re going to leave you,” Sanders said.

Critics say short-term rentals openly advertise for party gatherings with large occupancy. They say most short-term rental properties are investor-owned whole houses for this income.

Some neighbors complain they have lived beside party houses for years.

Critics offered evidence of 311 and 911 requests for service due to STR locations.

Police Chief Eddie Garcia said his manpower does permit answering calls for those nuisances.  

“It doesn’t rise to the particular level depending on the status of property to deal with the crime that does occur,” Garcia said.

STR hosts also lined up to speak to the council.

“There are hundreds if not thousands like us operating in a respectful, neighborhood-friendly short-term rental.” host Lisa Steivers said.

Supporters insist the vast majority of STRs are not a problem.

“It saddens me that we can’t address the real issues of STR party houses without banning the good ones,” said Jeff Veazey who rents his garage apartment.

Several Dallas City Council members support that approach.

“And I hope that we can remember the good operators as we craft policy that’s going to shut down the bad ones,” Councilman Chad West said.

Councilman Adam Bazaldua said it is a matter of equity for underserved areas where some people count on the extra income.

“If we choose to only act on the loudest voices in the room we will continue the tradition of government ignoring the voiceless,” Bazaldua said.

Opponents say that courts have ruled that allowing garage apartment short-term rentals would require all short-term rentals in residential neighbors be permitted.

“We need more housing. We do not need more lodging. Let’s do this now. Four years is enough,” said STR opponent Don Thomas Jr.

Opponents began the day believing they had sufficient city council support to approve the zoning proposal which was to receive a city council vote the following week.

Some council members pushed for the zoning vote with regulations for remaining STRs pushed back.

Broadnax said additional questions raised by members Tuesday require more staff work and another briefing.

STR critics want the council vote before the May 6 city election where at least two members who are term-limited will be replaced.

New members could also want the additional delay to come up to speed on this very long Dallas issue.

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