“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.”
Asheville’s housing affordability crisis has received a lot of attention, but solving the problem demands a wide range of solutions. One set of initiatives is looking at ways private real estate investors focused on building smaller, more affordable homes to ease the housing crunch.
City Council postponed a decision on Pritchard Park improvements, approved affordable housing grants of over $500,000 for a controversial South Asheville apartment complex, retained the city’s existing ban on homestays in accessory dwelling units and pitched in to support a planning collaboration that aims to expand access to preschool to all children in Buncombe County.
“Consider the ‘erosion of the fabric of our neighborhoods’ argument frequently cited to uphold the ban on STRs. Are we talking about borrowing a cup of stevia, sharing limited parking and trading garden flowers? Let’s stop envisaging the Portlandia version of Asheville neighborhoods.”
Disputes over what kinds of residential arrangements should be eligible for the city’s homestay rental program seem likely to get an airing when City Council hears a report on the findings of a task force devoted to that issue at its regular meeting on Dec. 13.
“Can someone explain to me how it changes the complexion of my neighborhood if a tourist parks in my gravel lot and enters the rear ADU building instead of entering my home?”
Short-term rental issues returned to Council chambers as the city’s elected officials considered allowing the use of accessory units for homestays. While Council decided not to approve the proposed expansion of the homestay program, it will appoint a task force to study the issue and make recommendations.
The debate over short-term rentals continues on May 4 at City Hall. The Planning & Zoning Commission will vote on a proposed zoning amendment to include accessory dwelling units in the city’s homestay ordinance.