King William Residents Demand Changes in City 'Air BnB Laws'

The City Planning Commission and City Council are expected to get push-back this week when they attempt to move forward a compromise law to regulate 'short term rentals,' like 'AirBnB' and 'HomeAway,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Residents of the King William Historic District say there are several holes in the proposal, which they say would essentially overturn a law they fought for in the 1990s which restricts Bed and Breakfasts in their neighborhood south of downtown.

King William resident Rose Kanusky says there need to be two changes to the proposal.  One, she said, would restrict Short Term Rentals to owner-occupied homes.  She is afraid that investors will take advantage of the law as currently written to buy homes in King William and essentially turn them into hotels, ignoring City zoning ordinances.

"We would like to ban all non owner-occupied from the historic district," she said.  "The other concern is, we would like to put a restriction on the number of owner -occupied units."

She says the way the law is currently written,homeowners could adjust the size of the rooms in the vintage late 19th Century homes in King William by opening and closing doors, and turn every house on the block into a guest house.

"Our concern is that people make a neighborhood and the long term residents are being displaced."

She says a more and more visitors from out of town occupy our valued San Antonio neighborhood residences, the overall degradation of neighborhoods will be the result.

King William residents also point out that not restricting the number of Air BnB's that can exist in San Antonio flies in the face of Mayor Nirenberg's well stated concerns about the rising cost of housing in San Antonio. 

 In other cities, from Austin to Nashville, officials are seeing that homes that used to be rented out to local residents as apartments are instead being converted into more lucrative Air BnB short term occupancy units, and the people who have lived there for years are being displaced.

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