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A landmark decision will likely be made on short-term rentals this year. It won’t be made by a neighborhood association or the Texas Legislature. It will be made by 15 men and women elected to the local Dallas City Council.

These elected leaders also make decisions on zoning that affect what can be built next to a residential neighborhood. They’ll decide which street repairs take priority in the 2024 bond election. They also approve home and apartment developments in an effort to provide more housing stock and affordable options for residents. 

These nonpartisan officials take their fair share of criticism in the court of public opinion because what they do matters. 

The deadline for voter registration is April 6. The election is May 6.

Short-Term Rentals 

Neighborhoods across Dallas have rallied against short-term rentals because of the criminal activity, traffic, noise, and nuisances that accompany some of them. The “Keep It Simple Solution,” which was approved by the City Plan Commission in December, proposes to eliminate STRs in residential neighborhoods and permit them as lodging use in areas that are zoned for hotels. 

A group of law-abiding, taxpaying STR operators, however, say they rely on the income provided by their rental properties, many of which are near or adjacent to the properties where they live. Their tenants are vetted, agree to a curfew and limitations on the number of vehicles and occupants, and no problems have occurred over many years of operation. 

In fact, some STR operators say it’s likely that neighbors don’t even know they’re living next to an STR. 

Attorney Micah J. King, representing the Dallas Short-Term Rental Alliance, issued the following letter to the Dallas City Council on Feb. 27 outlining the group’s position.

A dilemma exists in trying to appease both sides. Elected and appointed officials have explored ways to regulate, punish, or remove the “bad actors” while allowing the law-abiding STR operators to continue doing what they’ve been doing. 

Dallas 311 and 911 calls are low for STR properties, according to recent city council presentations, but those who oppose rentals in neighborhoods say there’s no point in reporting them because by the time the police or a code compliance officer arrives, the issue is resolved or nothing can be done about it. 

Council members Paul Ridley, Carolyn King Arnold, Omar Narvaez, Cara Mendelsohn, and Gay Donnell Willis have petitioned the city manager to have a full council briefing on the matter on April 4, with a vote on April 11.  

Dallas City Council Election

Forty-two candidates are seeking 15 seats on the Dallas City Council. Only District 12 Councilwoman Cara Mendelsohn is unopposed. Although Mayor Eric Johnson didn’t have an opponent when filing closed on Feb. 17, Kendal Richardson filed paperwork with the city secretary’s office on Feb. 21 and will be listed on the ballot as a write-in candidate. 

The most contested race is in District 3, with five candidates vying for the seat vacated by Casey Thomas, who is term-limited. Candidates include Zarin Gracey, Joe Tave, August Doyle, Denise Benavides, and John Sims

Visit the Dallas website for a complete list of candidates

Full disclosure: founder and publisher Candace Evans is seeking the District 11 seat against incumbent Jaynie Schultz. will be issuing questionnaires to all Dallas City Council candidates next week and will begin publishing the responses the week of April 6. 

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