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Port Aransas city council begins to address short term rental issues

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 23:32:17-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The anticipation had definitely built up in Port Aransas. It was a full room at the monthly city council meeting, many there to talk about short term rentals (STR).

Council heard arguments from both sides, but some decisions made make it seem they are against short term rentals.

They passed a second reading that with tighten up language of what defines a sleeping room. Sleeping rooms dictate how many people can stay in an STR. Their hope is this revision will cut down on larger groups in rentals.

Council also unanimously passed revisions to ordinances in chapter 25 regarding development. Plots developed now have to be a minimum of 5,000 sq ft. Developments also will be cut down from 21 units per acre to eight units per acre. This also would cut down on density, addressing citizens concerns with parking issues from STR's.

Several residents spoke up during the public comment portion, many calling for a moratorium on the building of STR's.

Port Aransas resident Barney Farley said he believes the space where a house was knocked down across the street will now make way for three new STR buildings.

“I’d like to see this disrespect stop. We have a city here we have traditions, we have a heritage. It’s being stomped on and lets do something about it right now!” he exclaimed to a room full of applause.

Some said the city need tourism to keep the small businesses a float. Another said he needs STR's to stay so he can stay in his home.

Ward Richter rents out his accessory dwelling unit outside of his home. Typically, it's couples and young families that rent his space.

"The vacation rental next door sleeps 10 to 12 people," Richter said. "And there’s four to five vehicles and four to five golf carts. The guests there at that rental until 3 o' clock in the morning there’s a radio blasting, there’s lots of noise. Our ADU vacation rental does not cause a problem...

We need this additional income to remain a resident in Port Aransas. We love it here. In fact I got the Port Aransas tattoo on my foot."

Late in the meeting short term rentals remained the topic, this time trash toters. Last city council meeting they discussed adding more toters at STR's to handle the issue of trash left behind by vacationers.

The Port Aransas city manager said Republic Services has been struggling keeping up with the waste in Port Aransas. He said they'll collect one load, drive to Robstown, unload then make a second trip out on the island. On Friday and Saturdays, traffic is too much that only one trip is possible. He added, sometimes Republic has mechanical failure with their trucks as well.

Council discussed having pick up begin earlier in the morning to avoid traffic.

The topic of short term rentals is far from over. Mayor Charles Bujan proposed a special meeting in August to go more in depth in discussing solutions for the STR issues.