Mayor Shuts Down Short-Term Rental Abolitionist as Council Approves Another Permit
SAN ANGELO, TX — The last standing anti-short-term rental abolitionist lost badly at the first meeting in 2018 of the San Angelo City Council. Randall Schkade has built his career in retirement as the number one opponent against allowing his neighbors at Lake Nasworthy to market short-term rentals of their property on AirBnB.com and HomeAway.com. He views the practice as a commercial enterprise that is harmful to insert into the middle San Angelo’s residential neighborhoods, especially at Lake Nasworthy where he resides.
Schkade is on record opposing every STR to come before the San Angelo Planning Commission, a citizen board that reviews conditional use permits to allow a property owner to rent their home in the sharing economy.
Up until last month, every applicant for an STR permit has been a legacy applicant, meaning the property was operated as an STR before the January 2017 STR Ordinance was enacted by the City Council. Last month, Schkade fought the permit for a new STR at the lake and lost. You can read about the plight of San Angelo entrepreneurs, Jody and Michele Babiash here.
Tuesday at City Council, the government body was considering the STR permit of a legacy property at 305 W. Ave. A. The Planning Commission approved the STR permit, albeit with six conditions, chief among them was that of the three structures on the two lots, only one was to be allowed to be an STR.
The other restrictions were:
- A change of occupancy was required
- The property owner was to pave two more parking spaces on the lot
- No signage
- No commercial outdoor storage, and
- To maintain the STR in accordance with the zoning ordinance
Councilwoman Lucy Gonzalez asked City Planning Director Jon James why the Council was even dealing with the issue if the Planning Commission already approved it? James said a citizen appealed the approval. Schkade proudly told the Council he was the appellant.
Councilman Harry Thomas noted that the property was in his district, and “quite frankly, the property is an upgrade to other homes in the area.” He urged Council to approve the permit as presented by upholding the Planning Commission’s November 2017 approval.
Schkade said there were issues were troublesome. He was worried a precedent would be set if the property was approved.
Above: Randall Schkade unsuccessfully argues against allowing an STR permit on Jan. 9, 2018. Looking on, Asst. City Manager Michael Dane is petrified, not of fear, but of boredom. (LIVE! Photo/Joe Hyde)
In a rushed and rambling presentation, Schkade noted that:
- According to the appraisal district, the property’s address does not exist. (Planning Director Jon James told the Planning Commission in November that the planning layout of his office sometimes does not align exactly with the Tom Green County Appraisal District’s addressing system, and said this was a normal occurrence).
- It was actually 2.5 lots
- The property will be treated as a commercial hotel by the appraisal district, which may increase the appraisal value of other properties nearby.
- Website printout shows two STR locations on Avenue B and on Avenue A. Schkade said the two properties were within 500 feet of one another, or close to it, in violation of the STR ordinance.
- Schkade has a disagreement regarding the Planning Department’s definitions of RS-1 and RS-2, two residential neighborhood designations. He did not elaborate.
- Schkade was curious about the exact date Concho Quarters, LLC was formed and filed with the State of Texas.
- Schkade heard the applicant wanted to sell the property as a turn-key STR. “If they’re going in there with that intent, that’s an issue,” Schkade said.
- The property is not in a Home Owners Association, so the HOA cannot ban them.
As Schkade struggled to paint a bad picture of allowing the STR, Council grew restless. Then the time buzzer sounded. “Can you wrap that up, Randall?” Mayor Brenda Gunter requested.
No one else rose to oppose the STR. But a few citizens approached the podium to express their support, including the property owner.
“It’s a really neat area. We love Concho Quarters,” said Rebecca Francis, who owns Concho Quarters with her husband, Frank. The location is right across from the Concho River near where the Girl Scouts headquarters are.
“It’s starting to get neat down there. It’s starting to be revitalized,” she said. “I’m proud of what we did.”
Debbie Powell said the inside of the property is amazing. “It’s a big improvement for San Angelo. It’s wonderful for the guests.” She urged the Council to vote to approve the permit for the STR.
Schkade reapproached the dais and attempted to throw doubt on the reputation of the Concho Quarters owners. “Ask them when they applied for their LLC?”
Next, Schkade was accused of making false accusations against all STR owners by Anna Martinez, who owns an STR also. “There is nothing wrong with saying the truth,” she said, as she debunked Schkade’s opposition.
In the end, Council approved the STR permit unanimously.
STRs are becoming a vehicle for revitalization of many properties within the city. On AirBnB, you can view many of the properties offered as an STR in San Angelo. The prices range from $20 to $750 per night. Only four are listed at Lake Nasworthy.