On Feb. 7, 2011, Buncombe County Planning and Development recommended a change to the county zoning ordinance to permit daily and weekly rental of single-family homes in Buncombe residential zoning districts. This change is strongly supported by real estate agents, property investors and property managers who see short-term rentals as an aid to the sale of vacation homes and future retirement homes in the Asheville area. This change is also touted as great for Asheville-area tourism.
Enactment of this change would have serious consequences for the quality of life of many current homeowners. A party house next door is not something that most of us dreamed of when relocating to Asheville. How many of us would purchase a home knowing the neighbors were running a short-term rental business! Noise, late-night arrivals, the comings and goings of renters, prospective renters, cleaning crews and increased traffic are not what we bargained for.
If you think that you are protected by neighborhood covenants, think again! Most covenants do not prohibit short-term rentals, as they were not considered a possibility when written. It is very hard to update covenants, as generally they require approval of 90 percent of the homeowners. Enforcement of covenants generally requires hiring an attorney.
I have no desire to infringe upon the rights of homeowners in the use of their property. At the same time, the rights of neighboring homeowners should not be infringed upon by those seeking to profit from short-term rentals. It is unacceptable that our county government is considering the operation of a business in an area zoned single-family residential. There is a place for motels and bed-and-breakfast operations, but it is not in the midst of a residential district.
The next step for this proposed zoning change is a public hearing and vote by our Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Please let our commissioners know your view of permitting short-term rentals in your neighborhood.
— Al Gumpert