News: CJ Exclusives

Raleigh Council Kicks Airbnb Back To Commission

Crowder, Odom object to legalizing short-term rentals

RALEIGH — After a months-long discussion about legalizing Airbnb in Raleigh, the city council voted on Tuesday to send a rules proposal back to the Planning Commission for further revision.

The plan, which includes distinctions between residential and nonresidential home rentals, occupancy limits, parking regulations, and bans on special events or business use, still lacks the definition needed for proper enforcement, some council members said.

Council member Kay Crowder, who — along with Council member John Odom — has opposed legalizing Airbnb since the discussion began Dec. 2 of last year, said she would like the city to consider requiring Airbnb hosts to receive a special permit from the city. Additionally, she says more specifics are needed to fill gaps she sees in the current proposal.

“What does an on-site manager look like?” Crowder asked during Tuesday’s meeting, referencing a residential lodging provision. “How do you know who he is? What rules does he enforce? How do you contact him? Who’s checking in on him to make sure things are running exactly the way they should?”

Crowder also cited concerns about how short-term lodging services would affect affordable housing in the city.

“What would happen is that all of a sudden we have a disconnect where we start to segregate people based on income and place,” Crowder said. “ We also have to [make] the consideration that property that is now rented to people at a reasonable price becomes — all of a sudden — very attractive to your rental business.”

Odom joined Crowder in opposing the legalization of Airbnb, saying the issue shouldn’t go to a public hearing, and that he will vote against any rules doing so when the council makes a decision.

“In my particular district, abuse of this would be huge,” Odom said. “I don’t see us having the funds to pay someone to look after this.”

The Planning Commission will meet Nov. 10, where the proposal will undergo further discussion to address the council’s concerns.

Kari Travis (@karilynntravis) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.