A real estate investor is seeking Waco Plan Commission approval Tuesday for a vacation rental in the Cameron Park neighborhood, a week after the Lacy Lakeview council voted to deny her a permit for a similar enterprise.
Kristi Bass is seeking a one-year special permit for a “temporary residential rental unit” at 404 Baker Lane.
Hers is among nine properties the commission will consider for such permits, which allow online rentals of residential properties through services such as Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO. Others up for approval include the old Leo Bradshaw home at 3601 Hillcrest Drive, which “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines recently bought.
The commission meets for a work session at 5:30 p.m. at the Dr. Mae Jackson Development Center at 401 Franklin Ave., followed by a 7 p.m. business session at the Bosque Theatre at the Waco Convention Center, 100 Washington Ave. The plan commission recommendation will go to Waco City Council next month.
Bass, whose “Barndominium” property has been at the center of a permitting dispute in Lacy Lakeview, is also expecting a struggle with neighbors who fear the Baker Lane rental will disrupt the tranquility of the Cameron Park area. But she is offering compromises meant to address their concerns.
Bass invited neighbors to an open house at the 3-acre property, which includes a four-bedroom house, a garage apartment and two poolside cottages.
In a revised permit application, she has agreed not to rent the main house as a vacation stay. It would be home to the owner or on-site caretaker, who would be present whenever the other units are rented. In fact, a family has already moved in to rent the main house, Bass said.
In addition, the revised permit application limits the number of guest vehicles to six, bars weddings or other social events, and requires trash cans to be stored out of public view.
“I respect the sanctity of the park and the fact that it’s quaint and lovely,” Bass said.
But Bass said she’s not sure her meetings with neighbors have won them over.
“I thought it went very well, but I’m not sure the discussions with me squelched their concerns,” she said. “They have their mind set on what is the best thing for the neighborhood.”
Thad Hairston, who lives a block away on Baker Lane, did not attend the open house but was part of a meeting of 20 to 25 neighbors last week about the property.
“We were pretty united that Airbnb and short-term rentals are a good thing,” he said. “Everyone had used them, and we were aware that there are several more in the park. But with 404 Baker, the consensus was that it’s just too much. . . . It’s basically a boutique hotel in a (residentially zoned) neighborhood.”
Bass said she has been “shocked” by the opposition to her vacation rentals in both Lacy Lakeview and the Cameron Park neighborhood. She said the Cameron Park area already has six vacation rentals, with no complaints.
Last week, Lacy Lakeview City Council deadlocked 3-3 on a special-use permit for the “Barndominium,” which Bass bought after it had been renovated on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.”
Neighbors cited concerns about the project’s impact on traffic and property values.
Bass said she intends to come back to the Lacy Lakeview council for a permit under that city’s new vacation rental ordinance.
She said she appreciates the city of Waco’s thoroughness in studying and deliberating her case.
“They’ve really been an all-inclusive entity, making sure they’re doing everything they can,” she said. “I’m more than willing to accept and abide by anything they decide without hesitation.”
Bass said that if her application is rejected, she may move to the property with her family.
Other applicants seeking permits for short-term rentals Tuesday include:
David Morrow and Marla Hendricks, 1403 N. Fifth St.
Steve and Tricia Wood, 918 Chapel View Drive
Melissa Mullins and Albert Zertuche, 1112 Clay Ave.
Refugio Martinez, 726 N. 15th St.
Magnolia Vacation Rentals, 3601 Hillcrest Drive
MLW Real Estate LLC, 4221 Hubby Ave.
Meteor Enterprise, 2921 Rickert St.
Joshua and Jill Barrett, 2517 Wooded Acres Drive