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Council Passes Short Term Rental Regulations, Punts on Concert Approvals

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Wells Dunbar, KUT News
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Protesters calling for a ban on types of short term rentals rallies outside City Hall yesterday.

Austin City Council members voted 5-2 last night to pass a plan that regulates short term rental properties.

The plan puts no limit on the number of short term rentals that are owner-occupied. But council members put a cap on the percentage of homes per census tract that can be used primarily as short term rentals. All short term rental homeowners will have to register with the city and pay hotel tax.

Council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo, who had been pushing for an outright ban on rentals that aren’t the renters' primary residence, voted against the regulations.

Council members also voted to put a charter amendment on the November ballot that will ask voters to give city staff job protections and standards similar to those enjoyed by Austin public safety responders. Essentially, rank-and-file city workers could not be fired or disciplined without “just cause,” and would be granted an appeal arbitration.

“Our challenge now is to make city of Austin voters understand what this is about, to win the hearts and minds of these voters,” Greg Powell, business manager for the Local 1624 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that pushed the proposal, told KUT News.

The council also decided to postpone a discussion about expanding the Austin City Limits Music Festival to two weekends. It also pushed back consideration of a new concert event at Auditorium Shores on the weekend of the Formula One race.

Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for August 16. A council work session delving deeper into City Manager Marc Ott’s proposed city budget is scheduled for August 7.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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