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East Side neighbors divided over proposed short term rental

City does not have laws regulating STRs

SAN ANTONIO – It is a question with no definitive answer. When does revitalization cross the line?

An historic East Side neighborhood is split on whether a homeowner can turn his backyard into a short term rental site– and list it on sites such as Airbnb.

After a nine-month renovation, Chris Mongeon now rents three spare rooms in his Nolan Street home.

Besides the extra income, he said the short term rentals, or STRs, showcase the historic Dignowity Hill neighborhood.

"We've actually seen a couple examples of people who have rented in the neighborhood,” Chris Mongeon. “And then (they) turned into homeowners."

Now he wants to turn what was a backyard mechanic's shop into two more rental apartments with a two-car garage.

"All of the vehicles have been cleared out, thankfully," he said.

Currently, there are no local laws to govern STRs, so Mongeon will need to win over the city’s Zoning Commission.

He will also have to win over his neighbors, including Cullen Jones.

Two more neighborhood association meetings are scheduled to discuss the issue of STRs.

"It's a matter of how many people are going to be in here every day, how many people are coming in and out every weekend,” Brian Dillard, president of the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association, said. “It’s kind of worrying."

A spokeswoman from Development Services confirmed right now there are no requirements for short term rentals in San Antonio, only zoning rules for bed-and-breakfasts. She said a 25-person task force is working on a draft ordinance, but that is still a few months away.

"I mean, there is a certain sense of buying into a historical residential neighborhood, and having the means and the right, if you will, to enjoy your quality of life," Jones said.

Another neighbor of Mongeon said he hopes Development Services gives the green light, because he wants to do the same thing.

The Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association voted Monday night 48-18 in favor of the project.

The Zoning Commission will review the proposal at its meeting Tuesday at 1 p.m. at its offices, located at 1901 S. Alamo Street.

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