Monday meeting to address Airbnb in Raleigh
Posted January 5, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — The buzz around the "sharing economy," services offered by individuals for individuals, has taken some hits lately in concerns about Uber's safety and surge pricing policies and in municipalities that want to restrict the renting of rooms by Airbnb.
That app, which allows travelers to find a place in private homes to lay their heads, shows hundreds of options in Raleigh, but they are all technically illegal. Any area zoned for residential use specifically prohibits the business that Airbnb provides.
"They're becoming a hotel, and we don't allow hotels in the middle of neighborhoods," Councilman John Odom said.
On Monday, representatives of the company and local users will gather to brainstorm how to balance local law and Airbnb's offerings. A community meeting is planned from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at The Architect Bar & Social House, at 108½ E. Hargett St.
Organizer Jeff Tippett said 145 people had reserved tickets to attend.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Raleigh City Council members have been invited to attend.
Last month, after a neighbor complained, the council ordered Gregg Stebben to stop renting a room in his Five Points home through Airbnb.
The city wants zoning inspectors to review the practice and to study how other cities nationwide are addressing it.
Odom said he wants more information about online rentals before taking a position on Airbnb operations in Raleigh.
"Let's make sure we get this right before we allow it to happen," he said. "This may be a test where we can actually put something in place that works."