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Dogs at restaurants, joint elections and home share rental regulations: what you missed at this week’s city council meeting

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The San Marcos City Council held its first public hearing of the month of Aug. 1 to consider approval of a variance to allow dogs at food establishments, allow joint elections in Nov. and to agree on registration fees and regulations for home share rentals, among other topics.

  1. Council approved an ordinance that provides a variance to allow dogs at food establishments

In 2015, the City of San Marcos passed an ordinance allowing dogs at food establishments under the provisions set forth by a variance. Under the recently modified variance adopted by the City Council, dogs would be allowed at food establishments provided if they are well behaved, barriers are maintained between animals and where food is prepared, and the restaurant has a self-closing door between the dog dining area and rest of the food establishment.

Dogs are not allowed to pass through the interior of a restaurant facility, but are allowed on patios and outside dining areas of approved businesses. Businesses are required to apply for the variance allowing dogs at food establishment. In addition, business owners must pay a $200 fee for signage posted at the establishment as well as training for employees addresing the standards for cleaning and sanitation for allowing animals on the property.

Under the current Texas State Health Code, dogs are prohibited from food establishments with the exception of service animals.

  1. Council approves home share rental registration fees and regulations

City Council set the registration fee for home share rentals (formerly known as short term rentals) at $50, a miniscule amount compared to Austin’s $443 fee. Language in the ordinance was modified to allow the home owner to be absent while the client occupies the rental, as well as an implementation that prohibits the owner from offering multiple rental agreements under the same home share rental unit at the same time. For example, an owner cannot rent out three bedrooms in their residence to separate clients at the same time, according to the new language adopted in the ordinance.

Home share rental owners are also not required to submit to code inspections by the city at this time.

  1. Council discusses the approval of a joint election agreement between San Marcos and Hays County to allow the city’s general and special elections to be held on Nov. 7.

The joint election agreement allows the Hays County Election Administrator to provide election services and equipment for both the city’s general and special elections on Nov. 7 of this year.

Councilman Ed Mihalkanin, Place 3, expressed the concerns of San Marcos citizens at Tuesday’s meeting, addressing the public’s desire to rely on paper ballots in an effort to avoid human error that resulted in last November’s election miscount. Both Mihalkanin and Councilwoman Melissa Derrick, Place 6, voted against the proposal. The resolution passed 5-2.

For more information and to view last night’s meeting, visit the city website.

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