Letter writer: Neighborhood group opposes homestays ordinance change

Graphic by Lori Deaton

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
President
Grove Park/Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association Board

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6 thoughts on “Letter writer: Neighborhood group opposes homestays ordinance change

  1. Austin Hill

    Fortunately your group is largely in the minority as evidenced by the 3 to 1 majority of Asheville citizens who voted at Asheville.gov to expand the rule to allow ADU’s. This is quite clearly a “not in our neighborhood” issue whereby the wealthy use their privilege to try and tell everyone else what they can or can’t do. Hey Alan, mind your own business and keep your nose out of mine. The city should be more creative about creating affordable housing while allowing hardworking people to use their property to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

  2. Long time resident

    It is telling that their neighborhood is Grove Park Inn, a resort inn aka STR. Also they Asheveille’s wealthiest, so of course they are NIMBY. Then they act as though they give a care about the service industry folks, what a joke. if ADUs were in their neighborhood , they would never be affordable. I bet most of them have lived here less than3 years yet trying to police the whole town. Hey Alan, how about yall start tipping better then service industry folks maybe can afford what’s offered. This is Asheville’s 1% trying to tell everyone else how to act. Gordon Smith is behind these recent LTE,…now that he has lost 2 elections (his & Lindseys’) he is sullen & looking for a win. STRs are not what is causing the housing shortage, rich white folks retiring here & using up all our housing stock is the problem.

  3. Jason

    Tax!!? This is the south! The blood red REPUBLICAN SOUTH! Where ignorance can’t comprehend the benefits of taxation….
    Where the dirt poor vote against their better interest “cuz ma preacher tells me so”

  4. Angry Grove Park Resident

    What kind of city destroys in one blow the retirement income and home value and extra income of over 1500 people? Yes, Asheville, North Carolina! People that worked and invested in Asheville as a home and a place to share this beautiful city. All of a sudden their little income destroyed by city council in October, 2015. NOT even compromise or a grace period of any kind. NO company today can get away with that! And this special interest group whose letter I am responding have totally influenced and cut this scar on the face of Asheville, NC. This association has been courted flambouyantly by the large hotel in it’s midst. They have slammed the tourist in their news letter with statement “we don’t want those tourist combing our neighborhood” Asheville has been in the business of having vacation rentals for over 140 years. It is unconsionable that Asheville city fathers could be so blind as not even seek compromise and be so swayed by so few. And to be so blind as not have created the tax structure to create affordable housing. Many options as wee in the previous comment. These home owners of short term rentals have employed local businesses to maintain their homes to keep them pristine for short term rentals and hired many local business to serve their guests. Yes, short term rentals have been a part of promoting this city in a great way. If reviews are bad these vacation homes do not rent!!!
    The city can hire people with a salary and benefits to do ONLY police and fine the short term rental owners $500 a day. Hire others to hack the website of vacation home owners. But the city Asheville can’t take care of the drug situation, the growing crime, the animal problem and the slum lords of long term rental property? Many people that travle now don’t want a B&B, do not want a hotel, they want to feel the charm of a city. They go through the reputable hosts to find the perfect home to rent for their vacation stay. Understand there is a place for everyone’s taste. Short term vacation rentals are a big growing industry all over the world.

    Don’t forget those tourists dollars are what make Asheville and pay it’s bills and provide the city father’s with their life style. Shooting the “Golden Goose”????? What other industry does Asheville have to take the place of tourism’s place?

  5. Belong Anywhere Asheville

    Please stop pitting neighbor against neighbor. There is ZERO difference between the current Homestay ordinance which allows the renting short term (less than 30 days) two rooms in a residential dwelling under the condition an owner/operator is present (in addition to other guidelines); than amending the ordinance to include ADU’s. In both cases, an owner/operator is present on-site. Really, how is Alan suffering from strangers? Is his neighborhood turning to blight? Nope. Certainly as long as the Omni Grove Park Inn Spa and Resort is in business! A commercial operation! It must be a foreign concept to him and his neighbors that strangers could become friends. But frankly, it isn’t any of his business who is sleeping where. Why is he assuming owners and operators are all incompetent and that tourist are not friendly or kind? This seems extremely narrow-minded, unjustified and not in the spirit that Asheville represents.
    We do have a serious lack of adequate housing in Buncombe County, but this is due to a variety of reasons, ie. geography being one, natural beauty that attracts many, many people , baby boomers retiring, etc. in addition to every time a multi-family, high density housing project is proposed, the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) and other Neighborhood Associations HAVE ALWAYS EXPRESSED OPPOSITION. Now we have a housing crisis. They don’t want affordable housing in their back yard, they don’t want tourists next door, they don’t want their property taxes to increase….. Gimme a break!
    ADU’S INCLUDED IN THE HOMESTAY ORDINANCE WOULD HELP FAMILIES. http://nbr.com/2016/02/08/building-housing-for-grandma-and-the-generations/ Grandma or the out of work millennial or X-gen’er could stay a while, and during their absence, income from a Homestay ADU could help keep families caring for one another.
    “Older homes were built for young families, and we have 21 million households now living multi-generationally, with one generation having to share a bathroom that’s used by the entire house, some people live in the garage,”
    “Burns Consulting of 20,000 home shoppers, 44 percent said they would like to accommodate their elderly parents in their next home. Forty-two percent said they plan to accommodate their adult children. The numbers are increasing for several reasons: The recent recession and resulting unemployment hit young workers hardest. An abnormally high number of them therefore never moved out of their parents’ homes. Millennials are also marrying later in life, keeping them with their parents longer.”
    “Immigration is another driver. In Asian and Hispanic cultures, multigenerational living is usually the rule. As these immigrants move to the U.S. in greater numbers, they bring the trend along with them.”
    “Then there are retiring baby boomers. The largest generation is downsizing.”

    ASHEVILLE, allow homeowners the flexible use of their private property and include accessory dwelling units in the current Homestay ordinance.

  6. Leslee Reiter

    I live in the Grove Park neighborhood and am a member of the Grovepark Sunset Neighborhood and fully support ADUs.

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