After deliberating potential policies for nearly two years, Plano City Council adopted regulations in April prohibiting new short-term rentals in the city’s single-family neighborhoods.

The new restrictions require property owners to register short-term rentals with the city and limits where they are allowed. Rentals operating prior to the adoption of a temporary one-year ban enacted last May will be allowed to continue so long as property owners keep listing the property on platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo.

In developing short-term rental regulations, city staff examined requirements for 24 Texas cities and 37 municipalities outside the state and vetted them to make sure they were “Texas-worthy,” Director of Planning Christina Day said. The options were presented to a city-appointed task force.

Day added the new zoning ordinance will offer clarity on short-term rental uses that was previously not present when the comprehensive zoning ordinance was adopted in 2015.

“There was a need to communicate clear expectations for short-term rentals,” Day said.

The overview

The study of short-term rentals in the city began after direction from Plano City Council in November 2022 and included approval of a one-year interim ban of new short-term rentals in May 2023 while the study was ongoing.

City officials were spurred to action by residents in the community, who have been calling for council to take action on short-term rentals for more than a year. Among the top complaints to police against short-term rentals were parties, excessive noise and trash being left out, Director of Neighborhood Services Curtis Howard said.

Plano staff also used the collection of point-in-time data from Deckard Technologies throughout the study, which identified a total of 464 operational short-term rentals when the one-year interim ban went into effect. Council also appointed 22 members of the community to a short-term rental task force in May 2023, which met from June through February.

Day said city officials examined short-term rental regulations in other cities, which were used to craft language for Plano’s regulations. She added the entire process followed rigorous data collection and public vetting, both of which have been tools other cities have used to successfully enact short-term rental regulations.

Council elected to adopt regulations limiting new short-term rentals almost entirely to multifamily complexes and nonresidential zoning districts that allow for new housing development. Members of the community also claimed there was a potential for litigation if council proceeded with a less-strict recommendation from the planning and zoning commission, and allowed prospective rental owners to apply for a specific-use permit.

“The planning and zoning proposal would open the city to a multitude of unintended and dire consequences,” said Bill France, president of the Plano chapter of the Texas Neighborhood Coalition. “It is irrevocable and unenforceable.”

Additionally, Howard said city staff are creating a training program for short-term rental operators that would highlight potential issues with human trafficking as well as provide information on city and state laws. He added that the registration ordinance gives the city the tools it needs to address any problematic properties.

“If they continue to be a problem, we have the ability to suspend their registration,” Howard said.

What they’re saying

Several Plano residents, including those with the Texas Neighborhood Coalition, rallied against new short-term rentals in neighborhoods for more than a year.

“I don’t trust the market to determine the proliferation of short-term rentals,” resident John Bourke said.

Council considered a recommendation from the planning and zoning commission but opted to ban new short-term rentals from most neighborhoods because of concerns about potential legal trouble.

"We should not have new short-term rentals in single-family neighborhoods,” Council member Anthony Ricciardelli said. “I don’t think that’s a compatible use."

Another view

Corey Reinaker, who has operated a short-term rental for seven years, said the regulations could impact his ability to make extra income and afford a home in Plano.

“There was never any data presented to the task force by the city saying there was a problem with people renting out a spare bedroom,” Reinaker said.

He also raised concerns about the economic feasibility of the registration requirements, such as the $1 million liability insurance coverage and $300 annual registration, for operators.

What’s next

To be allowed to operate within Plano, short-term rental owners will need to register with the city by Aug. 1 to be in compliance when registration requirements take effect.

Howard said city staff will likely rely on information provided by Deckard Technologies and registration applications to monitor compliance in Plano.

“It’s about being good neighbors, [and] making sure that the owners have every opportunity to be successful and develop good relationships in the neighborhood,” Day said.