New Braunfels City Council denied the first reading to possibly allow short-term rentals at the Kamp Kendrick Planned Development District at 1001 and 1005 Gruene Road.

The two properties zoned as planned development are located on Gruene Road near the historic district with access to the Guadalupe River. The homeowners were asking City Council to amend the ordinance to give them the ability to apply to allow a short-term rental in the future.

Mindi Stange, the Realtor selling the property at 1001 Gruene Road through All City Real Estate, spoke at the City Council meeting about the applicants' requests and why it would be a good property to list as a short-term rental.

“Gruene is a tourist destination; we have over 3 million visiting each year,” Stange said. “And as the growth continues and as seen here tonight there are more production neighborhoods, more apartments. And the unique custom homes, such as the subject properties, are becoming less and less, so to allow [short-term rentals] in areas such as these is vital to give tourists ... diverse options in lodging and walkability to historic Gruene.”

Representatives of the property management company iTrip Vacations San Antonio also spoke at the City Council meeting about how the property would be monitored through a noise aware app that tracks the level of sound in the home and by viewing how many devices are connected to the Wi-Fi. Those staying at the short-term rental would also be responsible for following the contract agreed upon when the deposit is made.

David Rogers, the homeowner of 1001 Gruene Road, said he chose to list the home on the market around two years ago and has only received a few offers that all had the stipulation that they would only purchase the property if the riverside home could be a short-term rental.

“There are many properties in New Braunfels that have been operating without permits. ... We are here to not only do this the right way but to provide future income for the owners of the amazing properties while generating in the city as well,” Stange said.

Mary McCarty owns the home being built at 1005 Gruene Road and would like to rent out the bottom of the residence for short-term rentals while living upstairs.

Over 20% of the residents who live within 200 feet of the proposed rezoning were in opposition to the ordinance change.

Bill Cole, one of the nearby homeowners, said their homeowners association met earlier in March to discuss the proposed short-term rentals. According to Cole, some of the concerns nearby homeowners have include having strangers staying nearby, an increase in sound and littering on the property.

“We purchased homes because there were no short-term rentals,” Cole said. “And we have kids and grandkids that we send down to the river. We feel very comfortable. We know the people on the other side of the river; we all look after each other. And allow short-term rentals, it will be a permanent thing that we cannot undue.”

Due to over 20% of respondents living in the area being in opposition of the rezoning, the City Council needed a super-majority vote to pass the ordinance. With District 5 Council Member Jason Hurta not present at the meeting, all six remaining members had to unanimously approve the agenda item.

There is a possibility the properties could go through the process to succeed from the planned development and attempt to rezone again in the future, according to city staff.

Ultimately, the ordinance did not pass, with council members Andrés Campos and Christopher Willis, and Mayor Rusty Brockman voting to approve the item and council members James Blakey, Lawrence Spradley and Harry Bowers voting against it.