New Laws Covering Airbnb, Other 'Short Term Rentals' Floated

posted by Jim Forsyth - 

City officials are prepared to present to City Council a compromise on the issue of Airbnb and other short term rentals in the city, especially in high demand areas, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"The policy put forth by San Antonio is the first of its kind because it provides more stringent regulation where there is a high density/concentration of STRs and limited regulation of health and safety code where there is not," said Justin Rentaria, an aide to downtown Councilman Roberto Trevino.

Trevino, who is an architect, also represents the part of the city which houses the most Short Term Rental units, but near the downtown tourist areas, but in historic neighborhoods like Monte Vista and King William.

The proposal to be presented to City Council tomorrow will focus on the central city.Permits to operate as a Short Term Rental would be awarded to 'all applicants who can demonstrate that they have met the required health and safety regulations, which will include having a safe premises and appropriate fire extinguishers, and other routine safety features.

To make sure that an entire block of a residential neighborhood is not taken over by short term rentals, changing the nature of a neighborhood, the plan is to limit the number of permits administratively granted to 2 for a standard block with 16 homes.  Additional permits could be grated by the Board of Adjustment.

Zoning would already have to be in place to insure that short term renters do not take up all of the street parking on the block.

Specific restrictions on noise limits are not included the draft regulations, because noise limits already exist in City statutes.

There would also be restrictions prohibiting private homes from being rented out as wedding venues, restaurants, and large entertainment and meeting spaces.When a multi family building is involved, no more than one eighth of the total number of apartments or condos in the building could be listed as Short Term Rentals.

Existing Bed and Breakfast establishments, most of which are in District One, would also be convered by the terms of the new ordinance, which will be presented to a City Council work session on Wednesday.

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