Austin City Council to take up short-term rentals at Aug. 2 meeting

The Austin City Council plans to take up the second and third readings and possible approval of an ordinance regulating short-term rentals in the city.

The ordinance would require all STRs to register with the city and display occupancy limits and proof of a home inspection. The ordinance caps the number of STRs within a given ZIP code for non-owner-occupied homes and homes leased more than 90 days per year at 3 percent.

Councilwoman Kathie Tovo had questions for staff regarding the potential impact of STRs on neighborhood schools at the council's work session July 31. According to an analysis of the 78704 ZIP code done in collaboration with Austin ISD, there are approximately 7,200 single-family homes in 78704. The impact study concluded that if the ordinance-mandated maximum of 3 percent of those homes became non-owner-occupied STRs, there could potentially be 216 non-owner-occupied STRs.

Using the school district's formula of 0.24 children per household, that could mean 86 fewer students for 78704's schools. Tovo and Councilwoman Laura Morrison have said they were most concerned about primary schools, such as Zilker and Barton Hills elementary schools, that have previously been considered for closure. Assuming half of those children were primary students as the district does when calculating these matters, 43 potential primary students could be lost. The district spread that number over the six elementary schools in the 78704 ZIP code and determined that the impact would be negligible.

Tovo was not convinced.

"Nothing requires them to spread out over all six schools," she said.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell asked for staff to ask AISD for more specific information regarding impact.

"How many would it take?" Leffingwell asked. "Would it take 15 to make a difference? Would it take 20?"

Austinites have become vocal on both sides of the issue, with some protesting the idea of non-owner-occupied STRs by demonstrating in front of HomeAway, a popular website facilitating the rental of vacation homes. Residents have spoken out against STRs, citing noise, safety and traffic concerns.

"Such business use is not legal land use under the land development code. It never has been, it should not be now, nor should it in the future," Austin Neighborhoods Council President Steven Aleman said at a May Planning Commission meeting regarding STRs.

The Austin Board of Realtors has launched the Keep Austin Reasonable campaign in support of the proposed ordinance. The campaign asserts that nuisances such as noise and trash are not more likely in an STR than in other types of properties and that a majority of Austinites oppose banning STRs, even in the 78704 area code, which has the largest portion of STRs.

"Unfortunately, myths about short-term rentals persist, and a few loud voices are advocating for overzealous regulation that will greatly curtail property owners' rights without benefiting neighborhoods," ABoR Government Affairs Director Emily Chenevert said in a news release.

To read the proposed ordinance its entirety, visit the city's website.


Franklin Barbecue in East Austin closed its dining room in March 2020. (Courtesy Franklin Barbecue)
Franklin Barbecue to reopen dining room on 11th Street in Austin

The dining room will reopen just before Thanksgiving.

Cumby Group is planning development for three adjacent multifamily projects on Manor Road in East Austin, including The Emma apartments. (Courtesy Cumby Group)
3 years in, Austin is falling behind on goals in affordable housing plan

From 2018-20, the city only reached 12% of its 10-year goal to build thousands of new homes and rental units.

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

The Austin Transit Partnership is exploring above- and below-ground options for a transit center at the East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley intersection. (Courtesy Austin Transit Partnership)
Project Connect plans to explore above-, below-ground options for East Riverside/Pleasant Valley Transit Center

After hosting a community design workshop, the group overseeing Project Connect designs is moving forward with options for both an underground and above-ground station at the intersection.

A calculator created by the Rocky Mountain Institute looks at the environmental impact of TxDOT's proposed designs for I-35 in Central Austin, one of the most congested roadways in the country. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofit's tool says TxDOT I-35 expansion proposals would have profound environmental consequences

The tool says that the proposal would create between 255 and 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year.

Photo of the Travis County administration building and sign
Travis County hears update on process to reassess master plan for aging correctional facilities

The process comes after county commissioners opted to pause all activities of the master plan over the summer.

Photo of a row of houses, with one under construction
Central Austin home prices decline for second month but still tower over previous year

Homes prices in the Central Austin area are up 15.5% from September 2020.

Rodeo stock image
Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo ready to open gates Oct. 21 after coronavirus delay

After the inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo was postponed in 2020, county and fair officials said they are excited to kick off the agricultural celebration.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.

The future of West Austin's Lions Municipal Golf Course depends on the outcome of a city rezoning process and its landowner, The University of Texas. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
As Austin's rezoning of UT lands continues, time could be running out for Muny course preservation

The historic golf course's future remains unclear amid a city zoning process that could ease the land's redevelopment.

Austin Cultural Arts Division staff provided an update on several funding opportunities for the creative sector Oct. 18. (Screenshot via city of Austin)
Austin's arts community could be in line for millions more in relief dollars this year

Additional relief for artists may be available in the coming months, while a broader review of the city's cultural funding opportunities continues.