South Padre Island REALTORS® Uses Land Use Initiative to Overturn Short-Term Rental Registration Ordinance

Located off the southernmost tip of Texas, South Padre Island is such a popular resort area that when a new Short-Term Rental Registration Ordinance was adopted by its City Council last year, it affected the vast majority of the island’s residential properties. Thanks to the REALTOR® Party’s Land Use Initiative, the South Padre Island Board of REALTORS®(SPIBOR) was able to overturn several provisions of the ordinance it found overly restrictive. In doing so, not only did the 120-member board succeed in protecting the rights of property owners, but it gained new respect from the city, which now looks to the REALTORS® as the voice of real estate in the community.

Lindsey Martinez, SPIBOR’s Association Executive, admits that as a relatively new board, she and her team were caught off-guard by the new ordinance; fortunately, their field rep from the Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) had their backs. “He was super-involved,” says Martinez, “and he clued us in to how detrimental these short-term rental ordinances could be.”  For her part, she quickly got up to speed by reading the standards established by the national and state associations, and with the guidance of the field rep and Government Affairs staff at TAR, applied to the REALTOR® Party for a Land Use Initiative review.

SPIBOR submitted the approved ordinance to Robinson & Cole, the law firm retained by the National Association of REALTORS® to advise state and local associations on land use legislation.  Martinez was amazed by the speed and thoroughness of the response.  “We received the review back much sooner than expected, and it was perfectly clear and easy to follow,” she says. “Not only that, but they caught a number of issues that we hadn’t noticed.  For a small board like ours, with limited resources, the Land Use Initiative provided invaluable expertise.”

Armed with the legal review, SPIBOR met informally with members of the City Council, who were also impressed by the value of the Robinson & Cole comments. The situation wasn’t adversarial at all, notes Martinez, but more about opening lines of communication. “While we would have preferred to have had the entire ordinance repealed,” she says, “it wasn’t feasible at that point, so we focused on issues of safety and fees. They were very receptive.” In fact, reviewing the objections together, she recalls, the Council Members said about one after another, ‘Hey that wasn’t our intent!’

All eight members of SPIBOR’s board of directors joined Martinez at the City Council meeting on October 19, when the amendment proposing its requested changes to the ordinance was on the agenda.  Another REALTOR®, one of several who are property managers, spoke during the public comments. The amendment was easily approved, and the City Attorney commended the REALTORS® for their public-spirited assistance in what he called “clean-up and clarification” of the ordinance.

SPIBOR’s success in amending the Short-Term Rental Registration Ordinance benefits all the property owners of South Padre Island, including the many who live elsewhere and may not be paying attention to local politics and policies. The victory has also boosted the small association’s confidence in its own powers of political advocacy. In upholding NAR’s Core Standards, SPIBOR was already working hard to be the island’s voice for real estate by posting market statistics on social media and drafting articles for the local newspaper. But thanks to its involvement in revising the problematic ordinance, the city now regards the REALTORS® as valuable partners. “The day after the October City Council meeting, the City Manager, who is new in the position, invited us to meet with her; moving forward, she’ll be looking to us as a resource,” says Martinez, noting that Council Members also expressed the hope that SPIBOR would continue to be involved in city business.

“We have such great leaders at TAR, and we could not have done this without their hard work and guidance—or without the resources of the REALTOR® Party,” she says.

To learn more about how the South Padre Island Board of REALTORS® used REALTOR®Party resources to protect the rights of rental property owners in its small resort community, contact Association Executive Lindsey Martinez at or 956-772-1940.


About padreeliteteam

Alta Monroe, Gayle Hood, Jules Wilk & Laurie Howell are a full-time professional and dynamic team known as the Padre Elite Team with RE/MAX 1st Choice in South Padre Island. Quality service for their clients is their number one priority. To them, it is about the client's needs and protecting their interests. Finding just the right property for their buyers or helping their sellers get their property SOLD is their goal. Helping clients step through the complicated process of buying or selling a property to a smooth closing is essential to them. A personal Bio on each of the team agents is posted on their website at The South Padre Island real estate industry is changing faster than ever these days. With the changes in the economy, there are new challenges with buyers, sellers, foreclosures, short sales, Internet marketing, our education, increases in inventories, changes in comparable sales, and frustrating politics. Alta, Gayle, Laurie, and Jules strive to stay on top of all of these changes and to keep in touch with their clients. Alta, Gayle, Jules & Laurie all hold designations they have acquired through eduction. These designations include CLHMS, CRS, GRI, RSPS, CPN, ePRO, SFR and RSPS. Gayle and Jules both hold the CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) designation and they are the ONLY agents in the entire Rio Grande Valley that are members of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing. This better qualifies them to share their specialized expertise with a luxury home seller or buyer. Making sure the buyer and the seller are represented correctly is a priority for this team. Investing in TREPAC (Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee) is important to this team since TREPAC has proven to be a major force in Texas by lobbying for Realtors and property rights for the consumer. For many years, the Padre Elite Team has been a major investor in TREPAC. Alta and Gayle have attended the National Association of Realtors Mid-Year Conference in Washington, D.C. often. The conference is primarily for Realtors that are Board directors or executives. It is a great way to stay on top of the current issues facing Realtors and homeowners in our country. They get to meet with their Senators and Congressmen to express their concerns. Last year they were invited to attend the Realtor PAC President’s Circle Conference in New York where they heard many famous guest speakers regarding current real estate issues. The Padre Elite Team also attends the RE/MAX International Conference each year to acquire more education and to keep up with the latest technology available to Realtors in the Marketplace. They have received numerous awards for being Top Producers in the real estate industry. Education is a priority for this entire team including their assistant, Grace. The GOOD news is that 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2015 proved to be better each year for real estate sales in South Padre Island and the surrounding areas of Port Isabel, Laguna Vista/South Padre Island Golf Community, and Bayview. The real estate market is showing an increase in the number of sales and a leveling of values. Now that the market has hit the bottom, investors are finding that real estate is a great place to invest their money. It is still a buyer's market and a great time to buy. Alta, Gayle, Jules & Laurie all agree that it has been such a pleasure to live & work in a resort area such as South Padre Island. A hundred of your closest friends and family will visit when you live near the beach! Clients are always encouraged to contact them. For more information about this team and to view their blog, visit
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