Letter writer: Housing for citizens, not tourists

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Asheville City Council, [should not] issue the $25 million housing bonds if [they] vote to use our existing whole homes as hotels. The bonds passed by a large margin. This is your proof that the citizens want more, not less housing. Building homes with bond money and then changing zoning to allow an equal or greater number of homes to be converted for use as hotels is fiscally irresponsible. We have a choice to make here: We either need more housing or we don’t.

Council member [Cecil] Bothwell is leading the charge to convert residential-zoned homes such as garage apartments to be used as short-term rentals for tourists. The next step is to allow whole single-family homes to be run as STRs. According to Bothwell, “We can’t control it unless it is legalized.”

I reject this and stand with those who are on the side of housing for citizens, not tourists. City staff, Planning and Zoning, the ADU Task Force, neighborhood associations and advocates of affordable housing all speak clearly against using entire homes as hotels. Let’s face this fact: Accessory dwelling units are real homes for our neighbors. Enacting policies allowing landlords to displace citizens for higher-paying tourists would be a step backward in addressing the housing crisis.

We can and are enforcing the existing rules. This is not a waste of money when you do the math and see how much it costs us as taxpayers to create units of housing. Every unit not used as an STR is one more potential unit of housing for a citizen to call home. We need to enforce the rules in place today or we will end up losing hundreds of homes converted to sheltering tourists. This is clearly what Bothwell is advocating for — the conversion of homes to hotels.

Jackson Tierney and John Farquhar have certainly made their case to Bothwell and here in the Mountain Xpress a few weeks ago [“Backyard Bungalows: Easing ADU Limits Will Boost Long-Term Rental Stock,” Jan. 4]. These two men bought homes in 2014 that had ADUs used as long-term rentals and now they want to change our policies to run hotels.

Are Tierney and Farquhar the poster boys of what we want folks to do with our housing stock? They are not impoverished individuals scraping by. … They want to put their own self-interests and profits above the greater needs of the community. It’s their right to do what they want within the limits of the zoning, and I understand not wanting to have a long-term tenant in the backyard. It is their right not to be landlords. I reject the “I am entitled to do whatever I want” attitude displayed in these men’s arguments about running a hotel in their backyards.

We have policies in place for many reasons. One is to help preserve what housing we have for use sheltering citizens. We really can’t afford to allow hundreds or thousands of homes to be converted to hotels. Thousands may sound like crazy talk, but how many hotel rooms have been built in the last five years? What is the trend line here?

If you feel the same, please let your City Council know. The folks wanting to run hotels in residential neighborhoods are well-organized and vocal. They are not the majority, but it seems that way when they show up at City Council meetings. They are advocating for policies to put their personal self-interest and profits above that of the community by converting homes to hotels. We have a choice to make. We either need more housing or we don’t.

— David L. Rodgers
Real estate broker, investor and member of the ADU Task Force


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13 thoughts on “Letter writer: Housing for citizens, not tourists

  1. Fin

    Again with the lack of true facts. Homeowners rights and people should be able to do what they want with thier home.

    • NFB

      “Homeowners rights and people should be able to do what they want with thier home.”

      Great! I’ve been looking for a place to build an asphalt plant and next door to you sounds like a great place.

      • luther blissett

        Too late, I’ve already arranged for a slaughterhouse and rendering plant.

      • Gwily

        Rights of homeowners to do what they want with their residential home in a zoned residential area. Sorry you can’t understand that. Show a real study of the impact. There isn’t one. Luther always results to snarky comments instead of having a debate. But that’s the type of people who live in this town. Glad you guys support the corporate hotels and leave honest homeowners without a piece of the pie.

  2. The Real World

    Fin is correct. There are large numbers of people in this town who are LACKING FACTS about this issue. But, they don’t care. They’re happy to write Letters to the Editor and promote fabrications as if they’re real. An excellent example: “The next step is to allow whole single-family homes to be run as STRs.” (Melodramatic much?)

    Whole house short-term rentals are distinctly forbidden, so what the h.ell is he talking about! (And that guy is on the ADU Task Force!) He is smoking some strong stuff and needs to give it up. The rest of his letter is worthless given it’s based on an untruthful premise.

    I predict lawsuits coming on this. Some lawyer needs to check NC private property laws closely to see what limiting jurisdiction City Council has and whether they are reaching beyond it.

    Like I’ve said before: time to ignore the extremists and let adults sit down using facts and reason to come up with a plan that works. Hardly rocket science…..except for those who lack creative and critical thinking abilities but are long on envy. That appears to include you, NFB. You’re just negative all the way. Give it a rest, please. We’ll handle it.

    • Austin Hill

      I went to second ADU Task Force meeting and knew right away that the Affordable Housing contingency were not going to be willing to compromise. In other words, the whole thing was a sham.
      The letter writer failed to mention that in Asheville.govs first online survey the citizens of this town said 3 to 1 that they support ADU’s as vacation rentals. So this is definitely a case of a noisy and nosy contingency making the rules. This is precisely why I will be reminding everyone at election time about the failures of Smith, Mannheimer, Wesler, and Mayfield, and how they chose to play games with our property rights, all while increasing our property taxes.

    • Gwily

      He’s on a city appointed board, they only appoint people who fall in line with thier motives and beliefs. Got to fit that mold or they won’t be able to push that aganeda.

  3. SpareChange

    Sir Cecil of Bothwell’s suggestion that something can’t be controlled unless it is legalized sounds all too reminiscent of the Army Major who said of the U.S. bombing of the village of Ben Tre, South Vietnam: “It became necessary to destroy the village to save it.”

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