The Short-Term Rental regulations are determined by the local City Council. As a resident, it is your right to attend Council meetings and work sessions, contact your Council members, and have your opinion heard. The following information is provided in order to make this process less intimidating for those new to political advocacy.
The Arlington City Council meets about every other week on Tuesdays. There is a morning executive session (not open to the public), an afternoon work session (open to the public, but without comment) and an evening session (with an opportunity for public comment).
The executive session often starts around 11:00 a.m. or later. The work session usually begins around 2:30 p.m. (times often vary) and takes place in the city council briefing room on the third floor of City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street. Finally, the evening meetings usually begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place in the Council Chamber on the first floor of City Hall. (Note: if meetings are held in other locations, signs will be posted.
The schedule of City Council meetings is posted on the city website.
Meetings vary greatly in duration, so review the agenda (posted at least 72 hours in advance) to get a sense of the amount of business that will be covered. Note: the "consent agenda" goes fairly quickly. The duration of other items on the agenda can vary significantly.
Audience members frequently come and go, so don’t worry if you are running late or need to leave early. This is completely normal, just show common courtesy when entering or exiting.
There is plenty of free parking downtown. Recommend parking in the parking garage directly across Center Street from City Hall. It can be entered from either Mesquite or Center. Please note, however, that Center Street in front of City Hall is one way going south, so if trying to approach from Abram, use the Mesquite entrance.
Most citizens come directly from work, so you will see jeans and suits. Please keep in mind, however, that this is an important meeting and your appearance reflects on both you and the cause you are supporting.
The agendas are separated by three types of meetings: executive sessions, afternoon work sessions and evening council meetings. All meetings have agendas posted no less than 72 hours in advance, and the work session and evening sessions are recorded. Agendas, minutes and video of past meetings can be downloaded from the city website.
During the executive sessions the City Council is briefed by staff or parties invited to share information, and council committees discuss proposals and action items to carry out the committee responsibilities.
The afternoon work sessions allow the Council to have open discussion of business items, such as briefings on downtown development, discussion of budget details, etc. There is no opportunity for public input at these meetings.
Evening meetings are more heavily attended and allow for public input. Any votes taken by the Council will take place at these meetings. For a description of the types of action taken by the Council at meetings, review the Meeting Process.
When you enter the building for an evening Council Meeting, a city staff member will offer you the opportunity to weigh in on any issue by filling out a comment card. You may choose to speak or not speak, but either way your opinion will be noted if you fill out a card. Please take a moment to do so, indicating your support of Short-Term Rentals (STRs).
After signing your comment card, you will go through the metal detectors (don’t bring knives, tear gas, etc.) and enter the auditorium.
If you choose to share your opinion or tell your story to the council members, you will have 3 minutes to do so. The time goes by quickly so leave yourself plenty of extra time to say what you need to say. Don’t be nervous. You may want to make some notes so you remember to say everything you want to within the allotted time.
If the item you will be speaking about was on the official meeting agenda you will be called upon to speak when that topic is addressed by the Council. If the item you are speaking about is not on the official meeting agenda you will be called upon during open comments, which is typically the last agenda item before the meeting adjourns.
Everyone addressing the Council must start by giving their name and address. Then state why you are addressing the Council; for example, I have a short term rental and I am concerned that you are considering a move which will make it impossible for me to pay my mortgage, or I live next door to a short term rental, and I appreciate the way the property is consistently maintained. Next tell your story. And finish by asking the council for the action you would like to see them take.
Arlington elects City Council Members by district. Districts 1 through 5 represent geographic areas, and districts 6 through 8 are ‘at large’, representing the entire city. At Arlington Maps Online you can enter your address and pull up information that includes who your City Council district representative is. Because the votes taken by the Council as a group, however, affect the laws that will govern the entire city, please do not feel you must restrict your outreach to only your designated representative. Each member of the Council should be open to hearing from you via email, phone, or in person regarding issues of importance to you.
Remember when contacting these individuals that they are public servants with important and solemn responsibilities; and while we may disagree on policy, you are more likely to persuade if you approach them with courtesy and respect.
On the City of Arlington website you will find a list of contacts and background for each Arlington City Council member.