Letter writer: Airbnb revives tradition of mountain hospitality

Graphic by Lori Deaton

When Thomas Wolfe’s mother operated her Old Kentucky Home boarding house during Asheville’s boom days in the 1920s, there were another 150 such private/independent, nonhotel such housing options for tourists.

The population then was about 30,000, while today it approaches 90,000. So the 150 to 979 Asheville ratio with respect to population is three times what it was 100 years ago — not accounting for vastly different economic factors between now and then. We are reviving our tradition of mountain hospitality.

While the Asheville economic/political machine can’t seem to build hotels fast enough, Airbnb accommodates the overflow of tourists who come and feed many other facets of our economy.

More than hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, Airbnb offers homestyle concierge hospitality, often by hosts who’ve lived here for decades. Perhaps that’s why even some local B&Bs list themselves on Airbnb. Let free enterprise reign.

— Holly Boswell
Black Mountain

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10 thoughts on “Letter writer: Airbnb revives tradition of mountain hospitality

  1. Grant Milin

    I was just writing about Airbnb and including the needs of renters and those living at the base of the economic pyramid in Asheville.

    “Asheville’s affordable housing challenge won’t get solved with magical thinking” by Moi

    http://www.grantmillin.com/ashevilles-affordable-housing-challenge-wont-get-solved-with-magical-thinking/

    Also the NY Attorney General found many concerns about Airbnb businesses that may apply down here too on basic principle?

    http://www.businessinsider.com/new-york-attorney-general-nearly-3-out-of-4-nyc-airbnb-rentals-are-illegal-2014-10

  2. OneWhoKnows

    Airbnb provides good extra income for lots of people, especially single homeowners in this town struggling to pay the
    outrageous TAXES for which we don’t see spent very well. Outlawing it will force some owners to have to sell and , gasp,
    move outta here!

  3. OneWhoKnows

    Airbnb provides good extra income for lots of people, especially single homeowners in this town struggling to pay the
    outrageous TAXES for which we don’t see spent very well. Outlawing it will force some owners to have to sell and , gasp,
    move outta here!

    and NO I didnt just effin SAY this..

  4. Jaded Local

    This is an issue Asheville is working on. Asheville residents should not be telling Black Mountain what policies it should enact and Black Mountain residents should not be telling Asheville residents what policies it should enact.

    Why is it that the Airbnb apologists decline to address the impact short term rentals have on housing affordability which has reached a crisis level in Asheville? Likewise, they never address to impact short term rentals have on the quality of life in residential neighborhoods where they are often located despite being a violation of local zoning laws.

    • Joe Ebel

      Asheville’s own commissioned report cites the only study “… to explicitly assess the link between STRs and affordable housing.” The conclusion of that study? “… the impact of Airbnb and other online marketplaces on trends in urban housing markets are minimal… However, we believe that the local apartment market tightened significant because of job creation and the improving economy combined with positive demographic conditions…” But, facts be damned, we KNOW they’re wrecking the local housing market.

  5. Sharon Cobb

    Abolishing short term rentals might open up more long term rentals but not affordable long term rentals. Why? Look at all the costs associated with being a landlord. Property cost/mortagage, insurance, taxes, business license, maintenance, utilities…By the time all of that is taken care of the hopes of being able to offer “affordable” housing is not possible. So, all you get is another market priced rental that no one can afford. Who is responsible for providing affordable housing? Individual property owners? No. What about all the tourist type businesses that employ the majority of workers that aren’t paid enough to live here. Why can’t they be responsible for affordable housing? Maybe a benefit of employment would be workforce housing provided by employers.

    And, how is the impact of a short term rental less desirable on a neighborhood compared to long term rentals? Short term is just that, short term. If there is a problem it won’t last long. Long term problem tenants are hard to evict. They could be noisy, messy and have more people over than a short term tenant for much longer.

  6. Jaded Local

    “And, how is the impact of a short term rental less desirable on a neighborhood compared to long term rentals? Short term is just that, short term. If there is a problem it won’t last long. Long term problem tenants are hard to evict. They could be noisy, messy and have more people over than a short term tenant for much longer.”

    Let me guess. You don’t live near a short term rental place, do you?

    • Hoser

      I would guess that even if they did I’ve next to an STR they most likely wouldn’t know it. There are over 500 STRs in Asheville, and how many bad apples are there? ALL the problems in our neighborhood have been with LTRs: crack house, domestic violence, animal abuse, loud parties, appliances on the front lawn, knee high grass, torn screens and broken doors. How is it that only STRs are a problem? I think we should ban LTRs in the city. It would “solve” a lot of problems…

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