Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dimming the Lights on Property Rights: A Debate on Short Term Rentals

"A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor,
But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days."
Proverbs 28:16

This afternoon, TPPF hosted Dimming the Lights on Property Rights: A Debate on Short Term Rentals in Austin, but the most revealing moment came last week.  That was when representatives from 50 separate "neighborhood" organizations declined to participate following the Austin "Neighborhoods" Council last minute pullout.  That nobody in Austin's NIMBY community came forward to defend this monstrosity really does tell you everything you need to know.

As TPPF explained in today's program:
In the interest of presenting a fair and balanced debate, it should be noted that the Texas Public Policy Foundation extended invitations to each of the following:
Mayor Steve Adler | City Manager Marc Ott | Councilmember Kathie Tovo | Councilmember Ann Kitchen Code | Former Councilmember Laura Morrison | Compliance Director Carl Smart | 28 Austin-area neighborhood associations | 6 Austin-area Activists
As to the substance of today's discussion, it mostly re-hashed things we already knew.  Chance Weldon, TPPF's lawyer against the City of Austin, explained that you don't surrender your constitutional rights based upon how you set up your living arraignments.   A representative from the hotel industry made the same sort of "level playing field" arguments incumbent industries always make, but neglected to suggest de-regulating his own industry until he was asked about it during Q&A.

It's also worth re-stating that the alleged concerns related to 'party houses' that led to this mess could have been solved by enforcing noise ordinances that were already on the books.  Furthermore, short-term rentals have received fewer than 100 noise complaints ever.  When code compliance fails to enforce the current laws giving them a new grant of unconstitutional authority seems, to put it mildly, odd.

But maybe that's why nobody from the "neighborhood community" showed up to defend this abomination.

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