At its work session this week, the city council came to a consensus that the legal and legislative atmosphere are currently too uncertain and the zoning ordinance should be left as is for now, prohibiting STRs within residential zoning districts.
They are allowed in commercial and mixed use districts.
According to Assistant City Manager Dana Burghdoff, there were approximately 630 STRs within the city In June, most of which were operating outside the districts where they are allowed.
This summer, the city held multiple information and public input meetings about proposals to modify its policy regarding where STRs can be located in the city.
The city defines STRs as “residential properties available for rent for guest lodging for a period ranging from one to 29 days.”
However, several of the proposed revisions distinguished between owner-occupied and investor-owned STRs.
On August 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that a New Orleans ordinance that distinguished between owner-occupied and investor-owned STRs was unconstitutional because it discriminated against out-of-state individuals in violation of Article I’s Commerce Clause.
Fort Worth’s city staff suggested the city could adopt a conditional use permit scheme whereby STR operators could apply to the city for the right to operate within a residential zone. The permits would be granted on a case-by-case basis and could only be approved for up to five percent of a block.
Several city council members expressed concern that the conditional use permit idea needed work. District 3 council member Michael Crain said he wasn’t sure the proposal “balanced neighborhoods and private property rights.”
The registration requirement is likely to come to the city council in late January or early February.
It will require that STR operators pay an annual fee and the hotel occupancy tax as well as provide a local contact able to be reached 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It will likely also include regulations involving parking, occupancy limits, and noise restrictions.
The Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth found that the City of Grapevine’s zoning ordinance allowed STRs as a residential use and that the homeowners made viable claims about their rights under the Texas Constitution.
The city appealed the case to the Texas Supreme Court, but no decision has yet been rendered.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.