“Compared to its peers, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority doesn’t do a particularly good job.”
Despite relatively restrictive ordinances prohibiting the rental of entire houses for stays of less than 30 days — and a $500-per-day fine for violators — hundreds of illegal rentals still operate throughout the city of Asheville.
In its first known formal engagement with Asheville, Airbnb sent two of its representatives to an Oct. 23 discussion of homestay regulations sponsored by the Homestay Network, a local group representing over 600 legally permitted homestay hosts. The firm has also committed to another meeting of over 50 stakeholders on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Sweeping changes to Asheville’s zoning code could make it much harder for property owners to rent out whole units for periods of less than a month. City Council will vote on the restrictions on short-term vacation rentals at its Jan. 9 meeting.
Asheville City Council continued its quest to crack down on whole-house and whole-unit short-term rentals at its Oct. 24 meeting, as it also approved a 70-room hotel project in the River Arts District and showed warm support for giving more staff time to the Energy Innovation Task Force.
Asheville City Council appears committed to holding the city’s line on any potential expansion of short-term rentals. Council members put the kibosh on a proposal to allow short-term rentals on a stretch of Haywood Road in West Asheville, while also instructing city staff to explore banning the practice in all areas of the city, including the River Arts District and downtown. Homestays, a type of accommodation where the primary resident is home during a guest’s short-term stay, would remain legal.
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.
“I believe that there is so much fear about noise and crowded streets filled with short-term renters’ cars, and it is unfounded.”
By Tom Scheve
“Knee-jerk legislation like the Airbnb ban in residential neighborhoods only helps the big hotel business and my Council should represent me, not Marriott.”
“The area is now so expensive and gentrified on its own appeal and expanding population that implicating Airbnb is a convenient exaggeration to justify intervention.”
“While the Asheville economic/political machine can’t seem to build hotels fast enough, Airbnb accommodates the overflow of tourists who come and feed many other facets of our economy.”
“This article could have been titled, ‘Leveling the playing field in favor of HomeAway and VRBO.'”
Asheville’s status as a top tourist destination has sparked a boom in vacation lodging, including short-term rentals and homestays as well as hotels. Amid considerable controversy, local listings on Airbnb have skyrocketed in recent months.