Public Input on Short-Term Rentals a Must

RECEIVED Mon., July 2, 2012

Dear Editor,
    The City Council has made material changes to the proposed short-term rentals ordinance without public input [“There Goes the Neighborhood,” News, June 22]. The council removed the 1,000 feet density limit after public input was closed at the June 7 council meeting. Then, at the June 26 working session, the council eliminated the rule that the city may revoke the STR registration if a property has three or more valid complaints. These are major changes that will allow STRs to cluster in the most desired sections of Austin neighborhoods and make it harder to shutdown problematic STRs.
    The council made so many changes to the proposed ordinance that Council Members Kathie Tovo and Laura Morrison asked that public input be allowed when it comes up for a final vote at the August 2 council meeting. Mayor Lee Leffingwell said that the council is not required to allow public input even though the proposed ordinance is significantly different from the version that passed on first reading at the June 7 council meeting.
    The public has a right have input on these and other changes the council has made to the proposed ordinance. What’s the harm in giving all stakeholders more time to consider the changes and provide input to the council?
David King
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