A 3-3 vote late Tuesday by the Lacy Lakeview City Council denied a permit for the owner of the Barndominium, forcing operations as a vacation rental to cease at the site made popular by the TV show “Fixer Upper.”
The council’s denial of the needed permit means owner Kristi Bass will no longer be allowed to operate the Barndominium on Spring Creek Drive as a vacation rental, City Manager Keith Bond said.
Council member Steven Moore abstained from the vote because he lives near the property, meaning the tie denies Bass’ permit to operate the business, which is at the end of a dead-end street.
Mayor Calvin Hodde, Mayor Pro Tem Denise Cogliati and council member Bruce Bundrant voted to allow the Barndominium, featured in Season 3, Episode 11 of “Fixer Upper,” to operate as a vacation rental.
Council members Amy Hall, Barbara Seitz and Patrick Bell voted against the permit that would have allowed the operations.
The decision came after several months of discussion from the council and several meetings where neighbors voiced concerns and opposition to allowing a commercial business to operate at the end of their residential street. The council had a new ordinance for rental properties drafted, which passed Tuesday in a 5-2 vote with Moore and Seitz opposing.
After the meeting Tuesday, Bass said she would continue to work with city leaders to see about how the project could move forward. She bought the 2,700-square-foot barn with plans to create a vacation rental for “high-end clientele,” according to her permit application.
The Barndominium has had bookings since August and lists reservations through November, according to the VRBO website. Bass required guests stay at least two nights, and, depending on the time of year, stays cost between $1,200 and $1,500 per night.
Including Moore, the council member who recused himself from the vote, 16 residents spoke in opposition Tuesday night to the Barndominium operating as a vacation rental.
Moore said during the meeting that Bass was told last month she could not operate her business until the permit was approved. He said she has repeatedly had guests since then.
“What kind of arrogance is this, that she can totally disregard the city’s rules?” he said.
Residents who spoke in opposition raised concerns about increased traffic, sewer problems and a decrease in quality of life and property values if the special use permit were approved.
Hodde thanked residents for speaking at the meeting, then raised issue with residents threatening to not vote for the council again if the special use permit had been granted. Hodde said residents never attend council meetings, and now all of a sudden, have a problem with the way the city does business.
“Before you say ‘I ain’t going to vote for you if you don’t do what I want,’ who wants to come up and do this nonpaying job?” Hodde said.
Cogliati said she understands residents’ concerns, but many of the issues raised exist regardless of the permit. She said the traffic problem would not change, as the location was already featured on “Fixer Upper” and continues to increase in popularity. Even if Bass moved in with her three driving-age children, there would be four people with vehicles in and out on a regular basis, Cogliati said.
She said she does have concerns about the septic tank in the area meeting capacity demands.
“To me, what if you wanted to do something with your property and you’re told, ‘No?’ ” she said. “How would you feel? How would y’all feel?”