The Belton Journal

The Belton City Council held their final meeting for 2022 on Dec. 13.
The city council authorized a license agreement with the Belton ISD to allow for use of the public right of way for student, staff, and visitor safety in the 200-400 blocks of North Blair Street adjacent to Belton New Tech High School @Waskow and the Belton Early Childhood School (BECS).
This means that section of North Blair Street will be closed during school hours only but will remain a public street.
Belton Chief of Police Gene Ellis said that is has become necessary to close the street with the increased use of New Tech High School, and the buildings across the street.
Type 3 barricades will be placed and removed daily during school hours by school personnel.
Vehicle traffic will flow as normal after the barricades are removed daily. The road is not a dedicated right-of-way use to BISD and the road will be maintained by the City.
RM Quality Construction will construct two houses as part of the HOME Program Grant awarded by Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The federally funded TDHCA HOME program will provide Homeowner Reconstruction Assistance for low-income, owner-occupied housing at 1205 N. Beal, with a newly constructed three-bedroom, two-bath home with a carport and gutters in Belton. The replacement cost of the home is $153,000. The City of Belton’s match for the reconstruction is $19,250 in cash contributions with permit fees waived. The replacement cost for a second home to be constructed at 610 E. 9th Avenue under the TDHCA grant is $187,000. The home will be a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, with a carport and gutters. The City’s match will be $23,750 in cash contributions with permit fees waived. The proposed bid from RM Quality Construction was $340,000, for both homes combined.
The HOME program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to expand the supply of decent, safe, affordable housing with partnerships between non-profit, and for- profit entities. The City of Belton has received the grant funding since 2001 and has built approximately 32 homes within the city limits.
The council also held a work session to discuss a draft ordinance for Short Term Rentals (STR).
Bob van Til, Planning Director, said the city received three complaints about STRs in April 2022. The complaints identified were in residentially zoned areas. The concerns included parking problems, traffic congestion, non-residents in the neighborhood, safety, noise, and trash accumulation. In response to the complaints, an Ordinance Review Committee (ORC) was formed consisting of Council members Stephanie O’Banion, and Daniel Bucher, City Manager Sam Listi, Police Chief Gene Ellis, Finance Director Mike Rogers, City Attorney Neale Potts, City Clerk, Amy Casey, Retail Coordinator Judy Garrett, and Planning Director Bob van Til.
The ORC reviewed the options for presenting suggestions to the council for the next step in creating an ordinance for STRs. Van Til presented 10 items in the draft ordinance that covered registration and permitting of STRs, minimum safety requirements, property owner contact information, payment of hotel and motel occupancy tax collections, building inspections, noise restrictions, and others.
Currently, Hotel Occupancy Taxes are not being collected on Airbnb, Vrbo, and other STR platforms in Belton. The anticipated revenue from the permit applications and permit fees are not expected to recover the staff time required to administer the ordinance but would mitigate staff resources. State legislation is set to convene in January.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen with STRs and regulations. Our attitude is to put something together that will help us, and if the legislature unravels it, then we’ll respond to that,” Van Til said.
A public hearing for comments on the STR ordinance will be held at the City Council meeting on January 10, 2023. When an ordinance is adopted for the STRs in Belton, it will become effective 90 days later.