Dallas short-term rentals recommendations coming despite concerns of some council members

Some Dallas City Council members argued Tuesday that a task force designed to create regulations for short term rentals is too close to the industry. 

But an effort to make any changes failed in a vote, meaning the current effort will move forward.

Paul Ridley was one of three council members who brought forward a memo in early November asking for the short term rental task force to be restructured.

"As a result we had a situation where the fox is guarding the hen house, and the deck is stacked against reasonable regulations of STR hotels," Ridley said.

He argued the task force is lopsided in favor of the very industry it is designed to regulate. 

"It will result in regulations written by the industry regulated. That, I submit, is an undemocratic process," he said.

Ridley and two of his colleagues took issue with one of the voting members of the task force being a lobbyist for Airbnb who lives in Austin.

"My understanding is the rules changed on folks, that everyone had to be a resident, until the one position, that the chair put in, a lobbyist from Austin, which violated the rules from the memo," said councilman Omar Narvaez.

Committee chairman, Adam Bazaldua, said the lobbyist, Luis Briones, is now moving. 

"We were not able to find a platform representative who lives in the city of Dallas, because it doesn't exist. I apologize for us looking for one and not finding one, we did go with Mr. Briones who lives in Austin and represents Airbnb, and he is in the process of this week moving to Dallas," Bazaldua said.

It’s Dallas' third task force in two years evaluating how the city should regulate the booming short term rental industry. 

Groups of residents have complained that homes rented on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo hurt their quality of life with loud parties, trash, and in rare cases, shootings. 

"The platforms have been irresponsible. They grew too fast, too young and need to realize they are part of our community, and need to police themselves or government comes in. I am not their security system, DPD is not their security system," said councilwoman Paula Blackmon.

The task force is expected to submit its recommendations for regulating short term rentals to the council to consider for an upcoming vote.

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