Frisco short-term rentals

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Woodard was the sole vote against approving an ordinance that provides regulations for short-term rentals in Frisco. 

Short-term rentals in Frisco will be facing more regulations and fees following a recent City Council vote.

On Aug. 17, a majority of Frisco City Council members voted in favor of an ordinance that will in part instill a permitting requirement, require safety measures and require hotel/motel tax payments of short-term rentals in the city.

Short-term rentals (STRs), residences that are rented out for less than 30 days at a time, have become widely used before regulations could be adopted, a city memo from Code Enforcement Supervisor Penny Curtis said.

“Many communities are now playing catch-up in an effort to address their citizen's concerns to protect their neighborhoods, maintain the availability of residential housing and ensure proper tax collection,” she stated.

City officials estimated about 288 STR listings in Frisco as of December, although Curtis noted that reporting the amount was difficult.

The ordinance notes that some local STR owners don’t provide adequate contact information, and some don’t live in the state or have firsthand knowledge of their properties or renters. It mandates that STRs can only operate with an annual city-issued $300 permit and requires the contact information of a designated person who can respond to complaints within an hour.

Curtis said an alternative to approving the ordinance included using a law enforcement portal provided by short-term rental platforms Airbnb and Expedia. She said the city of Plano used the portal and had seen some success in mitigating public impact.

Mayor Jeff Cheney pointed out that a high percentage of reported complaints are due to a handful of properties.

During the meeting, Frisco resident Jeanne Weisz said the ordinance was an overreach by city management.

“I oppose having the city manage private property,” she said. “That’s my impression.”

Resident Michael Armistead felt differently.

“Something along this line of guidelines in order to provide some structure I don’t believe is an overreach of the city council’s power,” Armistead said.

Council members voted 5-1 for the measure with Mayor Pro Tem Bill Woodard voting against.

Woodard said he had originally intended to support the ordinance with a request to review it a year later.

“But the more I think about it, an ordinance to solve for only a handful of properties...I don’t think that’s the best use of our time right now,” he said.

Woodard added that he would rather try other avenues to address the handful of “bad actors” and see if those solve problems first.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Brian Livingston and councilmembers John Keating and Dan Stricklin spoke in favor of the ordinance.

Keating said the ordinance was a first attempt at creating guidelines and clarity.

“It helps, I think communicate to everyone that whether you own, rent or are renting, all of our city rules, all of our city ordinances would apply, and that in this case, it helps us enforce those rules when there’s an absentee owner in the case of a short-term rental,” Keating said.

The ordinance will take effect 90 days from the approval date. 

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