New STR rules will effect 900 properties
A new city ordinance begins April 1 that will affect an estimated 900 short-term rental properties and their owners.
Fredericksburg city council members voted unanimously to approve the ordinance at the city council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 2. This was the second reading of the ordinance.
STR owners will be required to apply for a permit from the city and pay an annual fee of $150 per unit. An inspection by the city’s code enforcement officer will also take place before the city will issue a permit. The city has begun accepting applications and issuing permits under the new ordinance.
Six local residents addressed the council at Tuesday’s meeting. Those who are STR owners requested a workshop be held and asked the council to take more time to consider the terms of the ordinance before it passed.
STR owner Annette Bennett felt the city council has a negative view of bed and breakfast (B&B) properties and took issue with a clause in the ordinance regarding parties or gatherings being prohibited except at STRs that are located in the commercial zoning district.
“How can you possibly enforce a restriction on bridal parties and how could you define what kind of a party it is and whether or not a party meets your approval?” Bennett asked.
Another resident asked for more clarification from the council about parties and gatherings in the ordinance. Mayor Linda Langerhans and council member Charlie Kiehne provided an answer.
“I believe that the intent was having a lot of people, spending a lot of time outdoors and making noise until late into the night. That is one of the concerns we hear from residents in the neighborhoods,” Langerhans said.
Kiehne provided an example about weddings causing parking and noise problems in residential neighborhoods.
“When they have these events going on, it takes away from the neighborhoods and residential neighborhoods. Their families want to live in peace and quiet and not have to go to bed with weddings and huge parties,” Kiehne said.
John Weisinger, from the city’s Quality of Life Committee, said most other cities which have B&Bs require permits and annual fees higher.
He provided an eye-opening number of how many tourists per resident there are in the community.
“Fredericksburg has a tourists-per-resident (TPR) count of 150. If you think about the fact that we have less than 50 percent of the people who live and own property in Fredericksburg and the people who actually live here, then we have a TPR of almost 300. That is so far out of the ball park of what any other city is,” Weisinger said. “That is a part of what I think gives people a negative impression. We have so many tourists per resident that people feel like they are being over-run.”
The following provisions (along with others) are included in the ordinance:
• Requirement to identify a local person who is available to respond to complaints.
• Requirement for annual inspection of all STR units for compliance with building and fire codes.
• Requirement that city ordinances covering signage, garbage, parking, payment of HOT taxes and other regulations are to be followed at all times.
• Stipulation for revocation of permit if certain violations continue.
• Requirement to notify STR guests of city regulations that must be followed.
“We need to be looking at the entire community, and that is what this council does. We are trying to keep B&B owners happy by putting in an ordinance that will not be too strict on them,” Langerhans said. “We are trying to do this where B&Bs can continue to operate in a good fashion like the majority of them do and the people residing in those neighborhoods can also continue with a life.
“We are really trying to balance this out. It is not that we are trying to get rid of B&Bs,” she said. “It is not that we don’t care about the residents in the neighborhoods.”
To view the full ordinance, visit the city’s website at: www.fbgtx.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01022018-533.
STR RULES BY CITY
Austin - Owners are required to pay $443 initial application fee, $236 annually and must pay HOT taxes.
Fredericksburg – Requires permit and $150 annual fee per unit. Owners must pay HOT taxes.
Galveston - The city requires a $100 registration fee, plus $300 inspection fee. Owners must pay HOT taxes.
New Braunfels - A $50 application fee is required per unit and proof of paid HOT taxes.
Port Aransas - The city will issue a two-year permit for $50 per unit.
San Antonio - Requires one-time application fee of $200, owners must pay HOT taxes. Permit renewal fee of $100 required every 3 years.
South Padre Island - $50 initial application fee per rental unit. The initial fee is waived upon remittance of HOT taxes.
Waco - A $150 application fee is required. HOT taxes must be paid and a $50 annual renewal fee.