Apr 18 2017
09:38 am

City of Knoxville responds to Airbnb column

As a quick scan of the News Sentinel’s own coverage of the issue would show, Owen’s description of the proposed Knoxville ordinance on short-term rentals is inaccurate and misleading.

bizgrrl's picture

Good for the City of

Good for the City of Knoxville. It was a ridiculous opinion piece.

Up Goose Creek's picture

No Outright Ban???

Think about it - people don't go to air bnb to rent a house in a commercial zone.

Even as we speak I have friends renting an air bnb house in fountain city. The owners live across the street. It is the cutest and most amazingly decorated house. The owner stocked the fridge and went so far as to leave fresh baked cookies on the porch when we returned from dinner.

The house is a labor of love down to the landscaping and meticulous décor. This is a blight on the neighborhood? Leaving the house I saw a nearby house that was in rough condition. Anyone who knows me knows if I say a house is blighted it truly is blighted. Maybe that is the one the owner wanted to fix up next.

Is it too late to make comments? I sense the hands of the hotel industry all over this legislation. I thought the mayor was above that. I agree with the part that limits the number of houses, the appeal of air bnb is you are renting from an individual. Having the owner nearby is good - but some people want the privacy of their own space. Is next door or on the same block good enough?

At most you could require a variance. Just because people in one neighborhood don't want air bnb doesn't mean the whole city has the same sentiment. Many neighbors will be happy to see a house fixed up, especially if it is someone they know.

I realize there is an "affordable" housing shortage. This is due to large complexes aging out of HUD loans and no longer accepting section 8. Just one of these complexes can provide more units than the entire air bnb. I will also note at the moment there is an oversupply of non section 8 two BR apartments. Just driving around you can see the vacant houses and for rent signs. With all the new construction Knoxville is not bursting at the seams.

Industrial recruitment for good paying jobs and mental health support for adults who could room together could do more to help housing than limiting air bnb.

Somebody's picture

Think about it -

Think about it - people don't go to air bnb to rent a house in a commercial zone.

Think about it - people don't buy a house in a residential neighborhood only to find they now live in a commercial zone.

Knoxgal's picture

The Beacon Center

The Beacon Center, funded by the Koch brothers, also played a role in the recent lawsuit in Memphis that overturned TN's Highway Beautification Act.

Thankfully, the TN AG intends to seek a stay and appeal this horrendous decision.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Use on review

If there were a use on review process the neighbors would have input. For this use it could require review every couple of years.

Somebody's picture

On what equitable basis would

On what equitable basis would an applicant be approved or denied? If, in such a use on review, it were suggested that there were 'too many' sort-term-rentals in a neighborhood, how would 'too many' be defined, and on what basis would one applicant be deemed 'not too many' and another 'too many'? If, as you suggest, additional reviews are required every couple of years, who would manage all that, and what are the factors that could cause an existing applicant's business to have its use revoked? How would such factors be applied equitably to everyone?

If input from neighbors were a factor in these decisions, how would you prevent neighborhoods with wealthier, more influential neighbors from being able to hold the line in their area, and less influential and less affluent neighborhoods from being gentrified by an influx of commercial businesses?

R. Neal's picture

Nick Della Volpe weighs

Nick Della Volpe weighs in...


Up Goose Creek's picture

Supply and demand

wealthier, more influential neighbors from being able to hold the line in their area

One doesn't tend to see neglected or abandoned houses in high demand neighborhoods.

less influential and less affluent neighborhoods from being gentrified by an influx of commercial businesses

It absolutely needs to be a requirement that the owner lives in the immediate vicinity. And limit the number of houses per owner. Supply and demand should keep these from overwhelming a neighborhood. Knoxville just isn't a tourist destination.

If you pull up the calendars on local airbnb rentals you will see most of them make less money than they would receive from a standard rental. I'm of the opinion it's a labor of love. Or an outlet for the owner's decorating interests. They may need a guest house a part of the year. Or maybe they just don't want to live next door to a section 8 rental.*

When I read "commercial business" the image is a mini-mart with krieg lights, not a lushly landscaped home like where my friends were staying. A lot of travelers don't want to share a bathroom with strangers and most of the neglected houses I see are of the 2 BR 1 BA variety.

* I do FISH food deliveries and can usually tell where a landlord has done the bare minimum for section 8 compliance. I don't get the impression these are landlords that care for their properties.

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