Stunned & Saddened

RECEIVED Sun., March 6, 2016

Dear Editor,
    As a law-abiding owner of a short-term rental (STR) Type 2 property I'm saddened to live in a city where my dream, and the financial investment, that my husband and I made in creating a memorable place for people to reconnect and rest will no longer exist in five years ["The End of STR 2s?" News, Feb. 26]. I'm stunned that I live in a community where I'm punished for the sins of others. I'm sad for the work that will no longer exist for our housekeeper, landscaper, and repairpeople. These individuals help us ensure our short-term rental always receives a 5-star review.
    Living next door to our STR 2 allows us to ensure that we tightly manage our property, including any potential impacts on our neighbors. We recently had a three-week stay by a family whose daughter had surgery at Dell Children's and they needed a place for her to recover prior to traveling back to their home city. During their stay, our neighbors befriended them and even baked them a cake. How is that destroying our neighborhood? More recently, we've had couples and families staying in our STR while they looked for a home in Austin, allowing them to experience West Austin. How is that destroying our neighborhood?
    The decision by the City Council to terminate Type 2 rentals communicates loud and clear that I am no longer welcome to realize my dreams in Austin – that the actions of the few will win out over the rights of the many law-abiding citizens. That makes me terribly sad.
    A courageous attempt was made at a recent council meeting by Council Members Troxclair, Gallo, and Zimmerman to seek a middle ground in which the rights of both neighbors and owners could be realized. Unfortunately, a reasoned approach fell on stubbornly resistant ears. And that makes me the saddest of all – the lack of courageous and creative leadership on our City Council.
Mary Beth Chalk
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