Arlington, the American Dream City, has a world-class football stadium, a beloved baseball team, a historic theme park and few places for all of its many visitors to stay.
Few hotels are reasonably close to these tourist attractions, and a lack of public transit can squash the appeal. Lack of accessibility makes it a difficult for a hotel on the opposite side of Interstate 30 to compete with a short-term rental only a couple blocks from AT&T Stadium.
Short-term rentals, made popular by companies like Airbnb and VRBO, allow homeowners to rent out their homes for home-game weekends and the like. It’s profitable enterprise, but also a potentially destructive one.
Homeowners pick their neighborhoods for a reason, and those reasons include safety, proximity and upkeep. And though homeowners don’t get to choose their neighbors — odds are good their neighbors won’t be a home filled with 16 people or tourists looking to party.
Earlier this year we asked the question: “Why is it that someone who owns a house in Arlington has a right to turn it over to a stream of short-term renters stopping by for events at AT&T Stadium that is greater than the rights of other owners to live in a peaceful, know-your-neighbors place?”
The City Council seems to be trying to find middle ground between those options.
“We have to sort through and see if there is a sensible medium somewhere along the way...We’re wrestling with it, ” councilman Michael Glaspie told Star-Telegram reporter Bill Hanna.
We’re encouraged that the city is tackling this complicated issue. More town halls, something which Glaspie say they are considering, is great. Finding a middle ground is troublesome.
You can’t always make everyone happy, and compromise is possible, but sitting in the middle usually doesn’t make anyone happy.
Arlington must determine what matters most with respect to its master plan. Answering our question would make it easier to plan for the future.
If the city doesn’t want short-term rentals, a reasonable development would be to encourage more accessible and reasonably priced hotels. Or something like Fort Worth’s bed-and-breakfast ordinance.
If Arlington wants to keep the short-term rentals, it should enforce the residential ordinances — noise, code compliances, parking — to ensure neighborhoods remain welcoming for residents.
Either way, Arlington can and should determine how to best move from the middle. It will result in clarity for all.