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Monday meeting to address Airbnb in Raleigh

Posted January 5, 2015

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— 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."

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  • frosty Jan 6, 2015

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    I am sure it's not just the politicians. But they want to be a "Big City" with all the benefits, for them, it entails.
    It is about money and control. Some people just can't help wanting to run other peoples lives and not just politicians .

    It is ironic that people move to an area to get away from things they dislike and make the place they move to just like where they left. But I am not blaming everything on newcomers.

    But at least you are on the front of the wave, so selling your house is easier and hopefully profitable.

  • Bill of Rights Jan 5, 2015

    Yet another reason why I can't wait to leave the city limits ... our municipal politicians are taking what was once a beautiful, quaint Southern city and turning it into another over-regulated vinyl-sided suburban middle class slum.

  • btneast Jan 5, 2015

    Sorry Wheelman, but it is about the revenue and it always will be about the revenue. Well...its not ALL about the revenue....but revenue IS a concern. You have any idea what the hotel and food tax revenue pays for? If the county were to start having reduced tax revenue from this tax, who do you think would make up the shortfall? You don't get something for nothing.

  • Wheelman Jan 5, 2015

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    Since you don't think they care about your home values, maybe you would rather they do away with the zoning laws that keep someone from putting up a business next to your home. I don't think you would say it is all about the revenues if that happened.

  • Wheelman Jan 5, 2015

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    Because by law you are supposed to report those earnings as income. And the source of the income is a part time business. As such, even part time businesses are subject to requirements and regulations. You're trying to justify why you should be exempt from the laws because you would rather not have to be subject to them. What other laws shouldn't apply to you because you only violate them part time? By the way, if that kid with the lawn mower makes enough cutting grass, he's supposed to report it as income as well. Might not seem fair, but it's the law.

  • GALNC Jan 5, 2015

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    It is essentially the same has if you had a roommate living in the house. Many people only rent one room...so that is one car.

    You are screened and the host is screened. As for extra traffic, it is the same impact has having a friend come visit. They park a car. It's not tons of cars.

    It's better then your neighbor getting a roommate who throws parties all the time and trashes your lawn. The people (renter/guest) on Airbnb review each other after the visit.

  • btneast Jan 5, 2015

    If I wanted to fix the neighbors' cars out of my garage at home to make a little extra money, and only had one car at a time there, why should I be forced to pay the taxes and obtain a business license a regular shop is required to have to do it? The operative part of this excerpt is the part and only had one car at a time there. In theory, if everything worked like it was supposed to, that would be fine....but it often does not. There are folks that do home mechanic work .....but have 3-4 cars up and down the street....blocking parking for his neighbors. What is to stop some enterprising individual from trying to rent 3-4 rooms in his house? There will be folks who abuse the system....which is what the city regulations are for. Would you want your next door neighbor having totally random strangers sleeping next door to you on a regular basis? I wouldn't.

  • Grand Union Jan 5, 2015

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    Why have a tax for anything then? Sorry but this issue was decided in the 1790's (the Whiskey Rebellion). If they do not tax rooms they tax something else........would you prefer that they up the city taxes for everyone instead? Or do you imagine the city streets get fixed by themselves and the Cops and Firefighters etc don't really want to get paid?

  • btneast Jan 5, 2015

    The hosts are screened by the service. Not prefect I'm sure,Ya think? Far from perfect. Sadly, most people don't realize how much of a risk some things are until it hits close to home

  • jimcricket15 Jan 5, 2015

    Sorry Wheelman, but it is about the revenue and it always will be about the revenue. Politicians do not care about protecting home values and they never will. The hotels should be siding with AIRBNB and demanding that the government stop extorting money from them and drop room taxes. Everyone should demand this. Why should you pay a tax just to go to sleep?

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