Buncombe County has zoning ordinances for a reason

In passing a proposal to permit vacation rentals in all zoning districts, the Buncombe County Planning Board did a great disservice to citizens and to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

The proposal passed by the Planning Board is substantively the same as the one passed back in February and returned by the commissioners to the Planning Board for reconsideration. The only significant “change” was increasing the minimum permitted vacation rental stay from one day to two days. A real-estate group testified to the Planning Board that 99 percent of their vacation rental stays are for two days or longer; this so-called change is no change at all.

The larger issue here is that the Planning Board is recommending a significant step toward dismantling the zoning ordinance that the commissioners passed in 2007 and then again in 2009, namely, keeping businesses and main residential areas separate, which is one of the main concepts of intelligent land-use planning. This philosophy is one of the statements of intent made by the commissioners in the current zoning ordinance.

Certainly, 98 percent of the visitors to vacation rentals are good people who are here to enjoy the beauty of our area. Unfortunately, the other 2 percent, the rotten apples, have loud parties at all hours, create unsafe conditions, increase our traffic and don't respect our private property; my community has had that unfortunate experience.

There are those who would argue that a property owner has the right to do anything he/she wants on their property. This argument ignores the fact that in a neighborhood, anything that one neighbor does impacts his neighbors. Those who would argue for unfettered rights are implying that they have the right to impose their views on their neighbors irrespective of the impact. Protecting the rest of us from the lack of consideration of a few is one of the primary reasons we need regulations such as our zoning ordinances.

I urge the commissioners to reject this clear attempt to take a significant step to dismantle our zoning regulations. I urge all citizens to make their views known to the commissioners.

— Bob Ganz


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