Galveston home rentals center of dispute

June 5, 2013 7:01:18 AM PDT
As the school year ends, beach season begins and not all Galveston residents are excited about that. Some are trying to change city ordinances about who can stay where when visiting the island.

Many people moved to the Colony Park neighborhood to retire. They say it's quiet and family friendly, and they believe the only way to keep it that way is to pass this ordinance.

Dr. Anthony Cann lives next door to what he calls a party house.

"The police are called nearly every weekend with some type of disturbance. There were 36 kids standing out in the street at 3 o'clock in the morning," Cann said.

It's a short-term rental -- basically, a weekend vacation spot. There are two of them there in the quiet, family friendly Colony Park neighborhood.

"All of a sudden we feel like we're in a war zone with people coming in. You know, they don't live here so they don't care and it's just gotten kind of scary," said Susan Peters, president of the neighborhood's association.

Colony Park is zoned for residential, single family homes. Now residents are pleading with the city's planning commission to stop short-term rentals here.

But on Tuesday, commissioners also heard from several opponents.

"West end short-term rentals are a way of life. It really helps drive our economy here," one opponent said.

Rental property owners say banning all short-term rentals unfairly penalizes responsible renters.

"We have noise ordinances. The police should be called. These homeowners should be fined," said Ron Venable, who's opposed to the ordinance.

"People like living here because it's peaceful, it's friendly," Peters said.

Commissioners decided late Tuesday not to vote on this issue yet, but with people on both sides so fired up, they tell Eyewitness News this issue isn't going away any time soon.

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