Arlington Looking for Solution to Short-Term Rental Debate

After years of debate, Tuesday, the Arlington City Council hopes to make a final decision on the future of short-term rentals.

It would provide a designated Short-Term Rental District within a one mile radius from the center of the Entertainment District of Arlington, which includes AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park and Six Flags Over Texas.

"I feel like it is a good compromise," said Kari Garcia of Mothers Against Short-term Rentals.

Garcia said she started noticing issues in her own Arlington neighborhood.

"I live across the street from a 4,000 square foot short term rental that’s listed in Airbnb to seat 15 guests and I live in a very quiet neighborhood," she said. "[There is] a constant group of strangers — not neighbors in that house every night."

Garcia said her two children have witnessed fist fights and public urination outside the house where she said prom and bachelor parties are being held.

"It’s very large groups intending to party and be disruptive," Garcia said.

She thinks the ordinance gets the short-term rentals out of heavy residential areas and into the heart of the Entertainment District for use by tourists.

On the other side of the debate is the opposition group Short-Term Accommodations for Residents and Tourism (START).

"The ordinance, as it stands, would essentially ban over 90-percent of short term rental operators in Arlington which there are currently about 428," START president Jeremy Fenceroy said. "We’re talking hundreds of families that would be affected by this."

START offered an alternate plan for the Arlington City Council to consider — one they feel is fair to both communities and homeowners who would like to have short-term rentals.

The Neighborhood STR Opt Out Proposal would recognize short-term rentals as "an approved use of residential housing throughout Arlington, however, in neighborhoods where residents are adamantly against the idea of short-term rentals, owners could petition to have their neighborhood rezoned as an STR exclusion zone."

If the city council moves forward with the current ordinance, the group is prepared to take swift action, which could include a lawsuit.

"That would actually bring grounds for a lawsuit which would be tragic, just as it has been in Grapevine and Austin and other areas where they have effective bans and complete bans," Fenceroy said. "It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that litigation will follow in Arlington if this ordinance passes banning 90% of the short term operators in Arlington. There is already tremendous support for filing that lawsuit."

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