Plano officials plan ‘additional due diligence’ before implementing short-term rental regulations

The City of Plano is stepping back in its process of regulating short-term rentals in the city.

The number of short-term rentals — properties available to rent for less than 30 days through online platforms, such as Airbnb and Vrbo — has increased in Plano in recent years, and many residents have urged the city to embrace regulations.

The Plano City Council elected to file an ordinance that would have required registration and self-inspection of short-term rental properties at its Nov. 14 meeting. City Manager Mark Israelson said city staff were doing “additional due diligence” before offering an alternative solution.

Specifically, Plano staff are researching more options for data collection and consulting with the City of Arlington, which passed an ordinance in 2019 that requires a registration process and only allows short-term rental properties. term in non-residential and mixed-use zoning districts.

“We will reconnect with Arlington and its staff to ensure that we fully understand their process and what the impacts are,” Israelson said. “Data collection is obviously key to understanding a number of elements of short-term rental. We will review the third-party software and vendor that [Arlington’s] use, as we understand that there are multiple ways to access some of this information. »

Next steps

Senior Planner Melissa Kleineck added that the city will consider appropriate locations and zoning districts for short-term rentals, as well as hiring a consultant to help with a public engagement process.

“The overarching goal of this project is to provide a means to regulate short-term rentals and ensure that health, safety and quality of life standards are maintained in neighborhoods across the city,” Kleineck said during a meeting of the planning and zoning commission on November 21. .

According to the Plano Police Department, more than half of the 105 calls for service so far this year related to short-term rentals have been about 1% of listings.

Airbnb’s head of public policy, Jose Luis Briones, said in a statement that Airbnb “supports reasonable regulations that address community concerns, protect property rights, and preserve the benefits that short-term rentals provide. residents and the economy of the state in general”.

Catherine Parker, marketing manager for the Plano branch of the Texas Neighborhood Commission, said her organization was pleased the order was filed Nov. 14.

The Texas Neighborhood Commission has chapters in 14 cities and helps restrict and regulate short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. Parker said a registration process alone would not be enough to regulate short-term rentals.

“We just didn’t think it was the right way to go,” Parker said. “Other studies have tried to collect data on voluntary registration, and you just don’t get the data you need. You don’t even know you got the data you need. … If passed, this ordinance would have potentially legalized all short-term rentals.

Several other cities in the area have passed regulations for short-term rentals — both Frisco and Dallas have registration processes in place, while Richardson’s registration program will take effect Jan. 1.

But Parker said the TNC hopes Plano adopts Arlington’s model that “starts with hiring a third-party data collection company and ends with recording.” Arlington’s ordinance was also suspended in a 2021 court ruling. At its Oct. 10 meeting, the council was told that a total ban on short-term rentals in Plano could result in a lawsuit against the city. .

As the process continues, Parker hopes the city is on the same page.

“Neighborhoods are the foundation of Plano, and we strongly believe that city leaders mean it too,” Parker said. “Everyone wants to maintain the high quality of life we ​​have in Plano, so we’re confident we can find a solution.”

The project could be finished as early as late spring 2023, according to Kleineck, but there is no specific timeline.

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