Letter writer: Neighborhood residents don’t want to live next to mini-hotels

Graphic by Lori Deaton

This is in response to the letter in the July 15 issue [of Xpress] from “Asheville resident” titled “Proposed Fines for Short-term Rentals Are Overzealous.”

First, I am disappointed that you would make an exception to your rule of always printing letter writers’ names because it would expose someone who is breaking the law.

Second, it does seem that this person and his/her group has been painstakingly fighting for their rights as homeowners and have been doing what they can to get their way in a legitimate fashion. But there still remains the big picture: Residential zoning is there for a reason. People who have chosen to live in quiet, residential subdivisions within the city limits do not want to suddenly find that they are living next door to a mini-hotel.

The excuse that these “poor” homeowners can no longer afford to stay in their homes sounds very strange to me. When did they buy these homes? Weren’t they prequalified by their lenders to assure them that they could afford it? Taxes have not gone up that much (in some cases they have even gone down in recent years), so why all of a sudden is renting out a house or room in a house so necessary?

Why? Because they can make good money without accounting to anyone for the payment of hotel tax, permits, licensing, safety inspections, etc. Good for them, but unfair to the hotel owners and bed-and-breakfast owners who must do all these things and run legitimate businesses.

Later this summer we will probably hear that renting a room in one’s house will be OK with City Council as they submit to the whining. But those who own investment houses and are renting them on a nightly basis will still be breaking the law and subject to fining. Perhaps that will force them into returning these homes to the locals’ yearly rental market, giving the folks who live and work here a chance to rent a home.

— Sandra Brooks
Asheville

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11 thoughts on “Letter writer: Neighborhood residents don’t want to live next to mini-hotels

  1. Joas

    Sweet now they can rent long term and completely ignore the property, hopefully to people who don’t care about their neighbors. Sounds a lot your whining yourself. Stvr are usually nicer then long term rentals, multiple reasons are the rental is rated by the people who rent them.

    • NFB

      I guess you’ve never lived near a short term rental property.

      Simply put people who buy a house in an area zoned residential should not have to expect to live near hotels — too many cars, not enough parking space for them, loud parties by renters on vacation, etc. People who buy a house in an area zoned residential should not expect to be exempt from fines imposed when they violate that zoning by using that house as a short term rental. Often they do this with full knowledge that it is against the zoning rules, then they whine and complain when some one calls them on it.

      Great letter!

      • Joas

        I actually live 2 doors down from a vacation rental, never a problem. It’s called taxation, look at buncombe county filling the void with other people’s money instead of the people who live here. You may want to pay higher taxes but not I. Sorry your neighborhood is over crowded, not my problem. Maybe move? That fact that you call them hotels is just idiotic. Again another person on the soap box complaining. Long term rentals are treated worse them short term fact. If you don’t think get out of your bubble and drive around town. While your at it you can snitch on the Vrbos. Oh and in case you didn’t know if people are being loud, short term or long term renters they have these guys that enforce laws. Try em out. I think they call themselves the police department.

        • NFB

          “Oh and in case you didn’t know if people are being loud, short term or long term renters they have these guys that enforce laws. ”

          Interesting you make this suggestion since the whole topic is about the violation of the law that short term rentals represent.

          As far as me moving, sorry, I am not the one violating the zoning laws.

  2. mynameis

    “Submit to the whining,” Otherwise known as democratically elected officials making decisions based upon feedback from the electorate.

    But you admit as much: “…it does seem that this person and his/her group has been painstakingly fighting for their rights as homeowners and have been doing what they can to get their way in a legitimate fashion.”

    You can’t have it both ways, friend.

    Poor letter!

  3. Jim

    LOL. Property taxes have been going up for at least the past 15 years. During the crash even though market values went down, taxes stayed the same. That is an increase. And let’s not forget the recent increase because Bothwell will miss his 1.5 milliion from the likes of his dreaded WalMart but let’s not defund the art museum which contributes zilch. We’re talking about the same guy that fined the WalMart on Bleachery 16K per a tree for cutting them down even though they went in and cleaned up a Superfund site here.

    Laws are for suckers. In a nation where illegals are given money hand over fist instead of a foot in the rear, who cares about the law. Politics and ideology trumps it these days.

    • Jim

      Oh and one other thing. I read recently that council voted to approve 1.7 million for sidewalks. Very commendable but let’s put it into perspective when compared to the 400K spend on a wall a few years ago with the majority of the cost not going for structural integrity but for aesthetics. LOL, LOL, LOL. The letter writer must’ve not seen that one. But you folks go ahead and praise tax increases or even refuse to acknowledge the waste going on and of course vilify those that will turn their homes in “mini-hotels”. More power to them if that’s what it takes to pay for councils lunacy.

  4. Frank

    I agree with the author and share her concerns. I think there many neighborhood residents who feel the same but since they are not so acutely motivated by the same type of economic incentives of the short term rental property owners they do not attend the council meetings and their opinion is not being heard.

  5. Local & Native

    First of all the comment mini-hotel is pure sensationalism & makes your whole article somewhat of a joke.
    Second of all the STRs are paying taxes & many have been since the rule was passed in June of 2014, as of this year all airbnbs are paying state sales & Use as well as Buncombe County occupancy Tax (fyi the process is more legit/regulated than most business as far as remitting taxes goes).
    Third of all people are arguing the difference in renting 30 days (LTR) vs. 29 days or less (STR), that is what makes the difference in regulations, tell me how that will make a huge difference in a neighborhood..you are fooling yourself if you think these rooms are going to go on to the street for year long leases…most of them never were & never will be available for that market.
    Fourth of all this is what the town’s history is made of, boarding houses, sanitariums, etc were all STRs & that is the history we learn about Thomas Wolfe’s mom, The Brexton, Princess Anne, The chatham, Oakhurst, etc. Take a look at Zillicoa, Charlotte St, Montford, etc these residential areas are all full of them and as times & economies ebb & flow these place turn back into apartments or single family homes or whatever the economy dictates, this is America after all. Neighborhoods were mixed use in nature in the past & are becoming that way again in the future, it is more sustainable & more exciting. There are those that choose to live in gated communities & be “protected” by HOA, perhaps some of the folks complaining would be more comfortable there.
    Fifth, if we are really concerned about affordable housing, we should be looking to the restaurant & hotel industry that pays low wages, that is where the divide is I can assure you it is not someone renting out their extra room when their kid goes to college; or someone who takes care of an ailing parent a few months out of the year & rents it out as a STR the other times; or the divorced parent who has to provide a room for their kid every other weekend or just during the summer & can’t afford to do it without the supplemental STR income. There may be some bad players out there, folks from out of town buying a house purely to profit off of a STRs, but those are the anomalies and the sound bites that come from fear mongers like Gordon Smith. Please allow yourself a moment to consider the majority of folks who are doing this for the right reasons & ask yourself if you have actually ever been harmed or harassed by any of these STR or if you just fear it could possibly happen? These folks who you fear have been verified & reviewed & are bringing their hard earned cash to our town to enjoy what it has to offer. That is hardly the people I fear as neighbors. I have operated both STR & LTR & I can tell you the LTR can cause the big headaches. Some but not all don’t: take out trash & recycling, mow the grass, upkeep the yard…They: party too & have multiple cars & their friends & partners have cars, work service industry & come home late hours. This can not be solved easily, but we need to first get some facts together & approach it with common sense, not foolishness like your article reads!

    • clayton moore

      When I lived in a development near Fairview there was a limit on the number of rentals in the ‘hood. One bunch of renters that came in would play their electric piano through a Fender Mustang amp and blow the building apart with sound waves. Their kids climbed trees and fell and wanted to sue everyone because they did not think gravity was the problem. The guy I bought my unit from (a former Raleigh, NC law maker) had been using the unit as a hotel for his buddies…contrary to bylaws of the ‘hood). When I moved out the buyer put renters in there that inhaled dozens of ciggys every day which stunk up the building with their nicotine plumes. So, long or short term, my view is that many renters don’t seem to give a fig about the health of the ‘hood. The only solution is Halloween eggs!!

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