Residents say strangers create an “uncomfortable situation” in the neighborhood
For years, University Park city council members have taken a simple stance on the complaints that surround short-tern rentals: Take it to the police.
However, the disturbances that seem to go hand-in-hand with strangers renting out homes for short periods have increasingly become more bothersome. And, while cities like Dallas are relishing in the likes of $24 million last year in short-term rental taxes, UP residents say their neighborhoods are for neighbors, not vacation rentals.
According to a memo written by Patrick Baugh, the city’s community development director, the number of concerns and complaints regarding short-term rentals has precipitated action.
Steve Mace, the city’s communication director, said each year, for the past several years, the City has received complaints on about four or five addresses.
“Complaint locations are not constant,” he said. “They tend to move from neighborhood to neighborhood.”
Short-term rentals, which are rentals of 30 days or less, are not currently regulated in University Park.
Issues raised regarding the “revolving door” of new neighbors included too many vehicles parking on the street; large, late-night parties; and excessive trash in the lawns and before trash collections.
Max Fuqua recently raised his issue about a townhome being used as a short-term rental in his neighborhood at Milton and Hillcrest avenues, calling them a nuisance to him and his neighbors.
“We don’t feel comfortable having our children out on the street with strangers,” he said.
Blair Mercer, who lives in the 3700 block of Granada Avenue, told the council that the short-term rentals in her neighborhood had created an “uncomfortable situation.”
Residents previously reported seeing strangers in their driveways smoking cigarettes late at night, calling it a “harrowing experience” and saying, “we don’t know who our neighbor is anymore.”
Both Baugh and the city’s Zoning and Development Advisory Committee agree that regulating short-term rentals is not the answer for University Park.
Instead, he told the council at their Aug. 6 meeting that it would be easier for the city to ban them. An ordinance on the agenda that evening would have accomplished that. But due to a lack of transparency and concern over stakeholders not having enough advance notice, council members decided to table the vote until September.
If passed, the proposed ordinance would fine anyone violating the ban up to $500.
Those who would like to address their city council members about short-term rentals can do so during the public comment of any city council meeting. The council next meets Aug. 20 and Sept. 3. Council members can also be reached by email:
- Mayor Oline Lane Jr. – [email protected]
- Mayor pro tem E. Taylor Armstrong Jr. – [email protected]rg
- Council member Randy Biddle – [email protected]
- Council member Liz Farley – [email protected]
- Council member Gage Prichard Sr. – [email protected]