City Council will hear recommendations from the Short-Term Rental Task Force

Photo by Jaime Dunaway-Seale.

Dallas City Council will be advised of proposed recommendations to regulate short-term rentals.

The Quality of Life, Arts and Culture Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to include the full Council in the discussion on STRs after hearing a presentation on the recommendations of the rental task force at short term.

Task force members included representatives from District 7, District 3, District 14, and District 6, an owner-occupied STR, a commercial STR operator, and someone from an STR platform.

Here is what came out of the working group:

  • The group supported a 100% cost recovery fee licensing and registration scheme.
  • Six members of the group were in favor of allowing a room for three adults. Two were against.
  • All members voted in favor of banning on-site advertising as STRs.
  • Noise and sound equipment regulations should be addressed in Chapter 30 of the City of Dallas Code.
  • Five members voted in favor of an STR owner posting emergency contact information inside the STR for guests. They also voted to have neighbors within 100 feet receive an emergency contact from the STR owner and be asked to call 311 to complain. Two members voted against.
  • Four members voted in favor of parking requirements for the STR in non-single-family areas to meet the demands of the planned development neighborhood. Three MPs voted against.

Neighbors have long complained about STRs in their neighborhoods. But others see these properties as a way to generate additional income.

“It’s not a question that I think there’s a black or white answer to,” said District 7 City Councilman Adam Bazaldua. “There’s no silver bullet.”

The task force has also created a flowchart to regulate STRs. See the full presentation here.

“The task force has not suggested a way to identify short-term rental hotels in order to enforce the registration program and proposed regulations,” said District 14 City Councilman Paul Ridley, who is part of the committee.

Ridley said that in creating the flowchart, the task force was addressing a land use issue as it allows STRs to be permitted in residential neighborhoods. The City Plan Commission must take up this zoning issue before the city council can vote on an ordinance, Ridley said.

A representative from the city attorney’s office told the meeting that code compliance could issue notices of violation to STRs, but that’s the end of regulation. There is currently no way beyond this to disallow STRs from operating after, for example, a number of noise or litter violations.

STRs are supposed to pay a hotel resort tax, but not all of them do because not all of them are registered.

“The only way to enforce the rules governing the operations of STRs is to hold rating platforms accountable, because they all rely on rating platforms to reach their audiences,” Ridley said.

But Bazaldua, chairman of the quality of life, arts and culture committee, said some regulations should be considered now, instead of passing it off as a zoning issue.

“Now is the time for the political body to consider what are only recommendations and see what can be implemented now to provide some sort of immediate relief,” Bazaldua said. “Right now we cannot blindly put all our eggs in the basket which brings no immediate relief and no clear legal outcome. We throw that at ZOAC, and two years from now there’s legal precedent that tells us we can’t regulate them through zoning. We then lost another two years.

If regulations and zoning ordinances are passed separately, there could be problems. The courts could rule that all STRs that have already been licensed to operate could be grandfathered and their licenses could not be suspended or revoked.

Near the end of the meeting, Paula Blackmon, member of the District 9 City Council, presented a motion.

“I request a full briefing to the entire city council on the STR process, including the potential moratorium, with emphasis on referring this to CPC/ZOAC for zoning considerations with timelines included,” Blackmon said.

The committee passed the motion unanimously.

Blackmon said she wanted to give the entire city council an opportunity to speak out on an issue that affects all parts of the city.

“We’re under pressure, and I’m done playing with that,” Blackmon said. “We have to do actions that make sense, that do something.”

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