Short-term rentals took front stage at the Plano City Council meeting on Monday. Residents brought forth numerous issues at the meeting, and several others spoke including Police Chief Ed Drain.
The conversation comes after the arrests of two women in connection of an alleged sex-trafficking ring taking place in a short-term rental. On Septmeber 23 a rental was busted for what appeared to be a brothel-like situation. Dallas police arrested 41-year-old Brandy Clift and 22 year-old Madison Hatcher.
But this is not the only instance of upset residents because of these rentals. Chief Drain explained to council that police department has handled 105 calls for service from January to September of this year at short-term rentals. Sixty of those calls were party related complaints such as noise, alcohol and drugs. Drain also said that the alleged brothel was the only sex-trafficking complaint at a short-term rental this year.
Many residents of Plano spoke during the meeting to discuss their frustration with the matter, and demanded city council regulate these rentals. Plano homeowner Cristy Davidson was one of the residents who spoke to council.
"Drug activity? Yeah, probably," Davidson said to council. "And finally, as of three weeks ago, what appeared to be a weekend brothel complete with naked women, cars lining the streets filled with men."
The Texas Neighborhood Coalition of Plano asked that council explore more options for residents and homeowners. Bill France, one of the individuals opposed to short-term rentals shared his frustration with the circumstances and wants to make it known that other residents were not aware of these rentals coming to Plano when they purchased their homes.
“Without intent, we can harbor criminals and that is not what we signed up for when we moved here 25 years ago,” he said.
The city of Plano has hired attorneys to look farther into the possibly of regulating short-term rentals. But the issue is more complicated than just simply making rules. The attorneys explained that there are a number of legal issues that must be addressed. The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has often been in favor of short-term rentals and large fees would be expected if a lawsuit were to breakout.
There was no decision made during the meeting but council will consider requiring short-term rentals to register with the city to obtain a license. But if regulations were put into place, police would be able to enforce violations and fines more easily.