The debate over short-term rentals is brewing in Grapevine and Arlington, cities that draw plenty of tourists.
In Grapevine, property owners who leased their homes on sites such as Airbnb are angry about a recent city council vote to uphold a ban on short-term rentals, as the city does not have zoning in place for that use.
In Arlington, the city council is discussing short-term rentals, but has not voted on an ordinance, said Susan Schrock, a spokeswoman for the city.
In Grapevine, some property owners who spoke during recent public hearings held to discuss the short-term rental rules are now accusing the city of singling them out after they received letters telling them to stop leasing out their homes.
But city officials said they are sending notices to all identified short-term rental owners so that they can comply with the ordinance.
Lisa Nichols told the Star-Telegram in an email that the city isn’t treating her fairly as she and other property owners want to find common ground on the issue.
“We are tremendously disappointed in Grapevine for not even attempting to find a common ground,” she said. “It is shameful we have elected officials who would so easily turn a deaf ear to citizens who just want to work toward a solution that is amicable for everyone involved.”
Nichols said she and her husband Doug, who have lived in Grapevine for 10 years, volunteered at city events and managed their rental property successfully. She added that she was never told that Grapevine didn’t allow short-term rentals.
But this month the city council adopted an ordinance that clarifies the ban that already exists on “transient short-term rentals as the city’s zoning regulations don’t allow that use.” Property owners were given a 45-day grace period to comply with the ordinance.
Mona Burk, a spokeswoman for the city, said Grapevine is sending notices to let property owners know the short-term rental ban will be enforced.
“All short-term transient rental owners are being treated consistently as part of an open and transparent education effort to allow those owners a reasonable time to achieve compliance,” Burk said.
But the property owners said they got notices after they spoke during the two public hearings.
Nichols said the letter she received from Grapevine stated that as of Oct. 22, any effort to continue her short-term rental would result in a $2,000 fine per night.
The Texas Hotel and Lodging Association lobbied against proposed legislation in 2017 that would have prohibited cities from regulating short-term rental owners.
The legislative report stated that, “From the standpoint of the lodging industry, the legislation singled out short-term rentals for preferential treatment, creating an unlevel business environment for lodging operators. Neighborhood associations across Texas mobilized in opposition to the legislation due to its terrible impact on the ability of local governments to protect the sanctity of residential neighborhoods.”
Grapevine isn’t the only city grappling with the short-term rental dilemma. Last week, Arlington residents crowded into the council chamber to voice their concerns as some want the city council to take the same hardline approach as Grapevine.
William Middleton, a resident who attended the meeting, said that when people were asked how many favored short term rentals, four raised their hands. Middleton, who lives near AT&T Stadium, said he is tired of noise and other problems in his neighborhood.
“These people go walking past. We deal with trash and noisy, drunk people coming from the game,” he said. ”I was getting more than tired of it.”