A Texas Christian University-area mediation group working out a controversial proposal to lower from five to three the number of unrelated adults who can live in single-family zoned neighborhoods finally agreed Wednesday night on a rental registration program.
However, the registration program, approved 16-2 in the group’s fifth meeting, is without the “teeth” that many neighborhood leaders were hoping for to address concerns including parking congestion, noise complaints, trash violations and other code compliance problems.
Melinda Ramos, senior assistant city attorney, said many of those issues would be better addressed by creating a citywide chronic nuisance ordinance.
Paula Deane Traynham, president of the Frisco Heights neighborhood association, called on the city to respond to current complaints more aggressively.
“If there was a nuisance ordinance — or if the current code that is already in place — if we were able to get a reasonable response from the city whenever we complained, if those things were in place ... we would not even be discussing the overlay right now,” Traynham said.
The motion approved by the group asks the Fort Worth City Council to consider creating a citywide chronic nuisance ordinance.
The Fort Worth Zoning Commission voted Nov. 12 to exempt, or grandfather, property owners already renting to more than three unrelated people from the new ordinance after the mediation group agreed to the overlay as long as a rental registration program was created.
The rental registration approved Wednesday requires rental properties in the overlay to register with the city by March 31, 2015; requires leases of current tenants to be available to the city for inspection if the home is investigated; and requires property owners to provide their own contact information or the information of a property representative to the city for emergency situations.
Mike Russell, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs for TCU, also agreed to form a smaller group to create a “good neighbor” program that would help teach students how to live in single-family neighborhoods.
The proposed occupancy overlay would give property owners who have the legal number of tenants allowed under the current ordinance an exemption lasting forever unless the owner changes the use of the structure for more than 24 consecutive months.
The City Council is scheduled to consider the proposed overlay on Dec. 2.
This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.