The Grove Park Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association opposes the expansion of the recently enacted Asheville city ordinance regarding homestays to include accessory dwelling units or ADUs.
We believe the city of Asheville should be run first and foremost for the majority of the citizens who live here. We should encourage tourism, but not at the expense of those who live and work here.
Everyone agrees there is an extreme shortage of affordable housing in Asheville to accommodate the many wage-earning workers who help make our town what it is. Asheville cannot sustain its strong tourist economy without affordable housing for the people who work in the many restaurants, attractions and hotels.
Who would be best served by allowing accessory dwelling units to be used for short-term rentals? Answer: tourists and a small number of property owners.
Who would be most negatively impacted? Answer: the working population of Asheville who needs the affordable, long-term rental living space that would undoubtedly be redirected to short-term rental for use by tourists.
Who would suffer the commercialization of their neighborhoods with greatly increased flow of strangers from transient guests? Answer: neighboring homeowners.
Attractive revenue potentials from short-term rentals could result in significant new construction of ADUs in back or side yards, changing the character of established neighborhoods. Commercial owners of multiple properties would be possible, even likely.
Long-term renters become neighbors, part of the community. Transient strangers never do.
Tourists are outsiders with no attachment to the neighborhood — creating a perpetual series of one-night stands. Who wants that next to their house? That’s the purpose of zoning.
Seldom is any public policy solution perfect for all concerned. There should be a balancing of interests with the other people who would be hurt by opening up ADUs for short-term rentals by tourists. Owners of ADUs can continue to rent them out for terms of one month or more.
Changes to homestay requirements are too recent for a clear evaluation of their impact. More time should be allowed before further changes are considered.
— Alan Escovitz
Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association Board