Many residents have spoken out about short-term rentals, such as those through Airbnb, during citizen comments at multiple city council meetings.
“Airbnb’s are for the vacation life,” Pearland resident Melissa Flores said during citizen comment. “People arrive at all times of the day and night. Loud music, door slamming at 3 a.m.. Lots of talking as people unload their belongings like it is 4 [p.m.]. Vacationers are not concerned that the neighbor needs to get up in a few hours to go to work.”
In an effort to regulate short-term rentals, City Council moved to establish a committee tasked with evaluating regulatory options, such as permitting, inspection requirements, occupancy limits and more, according to agenda documents.
“They’re not writing the entire ordinance,” Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole said. “What they're going to look at, the scope, the different things that we’ve heard out in the community. Do we require permits? Yes or no? Is there some kind of revocation that can be revoked in an appeal process?”
Pearland views a short-term rental as residential dwellings units or bedrooms in residential dwelling units that are temporarily rented out for compensation for less than 30 consecutive days, according to agenda documents.
The committee—including Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole, Council Member Adrian Hernandez, Council Member Trent Perez, Pearland Convention and Visitors Bureau board member Manny Patel and Pearland resident John Lampson—will meet at least once every two weeks but can meet more frequently if it desires, agenda documents read.
During the Oct. 11 council meeting, the original ordinance was amended so that the committee could add a member of the planning and zoning commission who will be named at a later date.
During the discussion of the meeting, Council Members Alex Kamkar and Luke Orlando both expressed their desires for the process to be done faster and for City Council members to have a say on who is on the committee.
Kamkar's motion to establish a deadline for the committee’s results to be presented to City Council by Dec. 1 passed unanimously.
“I want to have a workshop. I want to go a little faster,” Kamkar said.
City Council also originally planned to vote on a different ordinance that would have required all short-term rentals within Pearland to register with the city to operate, but City Council moved it to another date because two council members were not present.
The committee will look at what action it can take to regulate short-term rentals within the city without violating local, state or federal law.
During the meeting, Pearland city attorney Darrin Coker presented three different court cases on short-term rentals within the state, including Draper v. City of Arlington that set the precedent that cities were allowed to regulate short-term rental owners if the city could prove those regulations were of governmental interest and supported by studies, according to slides shown during the council meeting.
“I know where I’m at here,” Kamkar said. “We need something that enforces, that takes care of parking, that takes a permitting process and does not allow bad actors to continue to be bad actors.”