Local Politics

Raleigh taking more time to review online room rentals

Posted January 20, 2015

— The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday referred questions over private homes being rented for short stays to a council committee for more study and discussion.

The council in December declared the services of Airbnb and other room-sharing applications illegal after getting a complaint from a Five Points resident about a neighbor's rental.

Airbnb serves to connect homeowners with visitors seeking to rent a room as an alternative to a hotel stay.

Opponents say such services undercut hotel taxes and present a traffic problem for residential neighborhoods. Airbnb users argue that regulations on the service impinge on a homeowner's right to use his or her property to make some extra income.

Travis Crane, planning and zoning administrator, compiled a five-page report for the council that outlines Raleigh's existing regulation of bed and breakfast facilities, how other cities are accommodating room-sharing applications and his recommendations.

Crane found that the rentals have both pros and cons. While they offer additional income both for property owners and, through a permit fee, the city, they can create additional traffic and parking hassles in residential areas.

Under the city's current "Bed and Breakfast" laws, such rentals are allowed, but only in historic districts, historic landmarks or properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Crane found.

City leaders have the option to sticking with the status quo, expanding and defining the zones where short-term rentals are legal or establishing a permitting process for those who wish to rent their properties. Any change would take time and allow for public input.

Crane reported that cities that allow Airbnb and similar rentals often set limits. Many require that the property owner be on-site and restrict the rentals to certain areas. Most have a permit process and cap the number of renters or the space that can be rented.

In other business, the City Council selected Transfer Company LLC to redevelop the Stone’s Warehouse site, at 500 E. Davie St. The project will put a food-production hub anchored by local businesses, a community hall and gathering place, a micro-production facility or restaurant, a neighborhood grocery and café and 16 townhouses in the historic warehouse and nearby buildings.

The council also accepted a $1.1 million bid from Holt Brothers Construction to renovate Market Plaza and Exchange Plaza downtown and scheduled a Feb. 3 public hearing on a proposal to rezone a site at Hillsborough Street and Pullen Road for a mixed-use development that would include up to 82 residential units, offices and retail space.


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  • tierneemalinadeveaux Jan 21, 2015

    I really don't even understand why this is a news story.

  • mowfixer Jan 21, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Your the only one who has figured this out. You are correct. Its all about money and nothing else!

  • Craig Elliott Jan 20, 2015
    user avatar

    Taking one step back from the Airbnb and Uber controversies, why are hotels and taxi companies regulated in the first place?

    Why are hotels legally obligated to follow fire and health regulations? Why do cab companies have to comply with insurance regulations and have special licensing for their drivers?

    The regulations were created in response to significant safety issues. If they don't apply to Airbnb and Uber then they shouldn't apply to anyone.

  • tri123 Jan 20, 2015

    View quoted thread

    It doesn't even sound like there was an issue with the house; there was an issue with a crazy neighbor.

    I've also used AirBNB and VRBO. The places were exactly not "flophouses." And recently at a family gathering on the West Coast, family members that didn't fit in the house were able to find spare rooms within a few blocks on AirBnB.

  • raphael27520 Jan 20, 2015

    Why can't I put overnight "guests" into my unfinished garage or sleep in the cab of my 1980 Pickup that doesn't run in the driveway of my residential neighborhood?
    Why can't I put twenty 1970's single wide trailers on my acre lot and rent them to overnight guests? Why can't I put up 30 ObamaVille tents on my one acre lot and rent them to overnight "Outdoor adventurists"?

    The answer is obvious.
    If you live in a residential area, the other owners don't want transients or commercial lodging in the area.
    But let the Flophouses go up all around Raleigh......

  • Bill of Rights Jan 20, 2015

    Raleigh city council just "thinks" that they stopped it. It'll be quite a shock for them when they realize that the majority of Raleigh's AirBNB'ers don't give a hoot whether city council "approves" or nor.

  • raphael27520 Jan 20, 2015

    Let the Flophouses go up throughout Raleigh .

    Soon it will be a nice as say, Detroit or Newark....

  • sinenomine Jan 20, 2015

    It makes sense to regulate the practice by way of protection for both the homeowner and the guest. But what particular regulations?

    - Parking? If only one guest is present he/she probably has only one car. How is that any different than when I have a house guest during the holidays and there's an extra car on the street or in my driveway?

    - Why should I be discriminated against in not being allowed to rent a room in my 1965 rambler house because it's not in a fancy historic area? Houses built as recently as 1965 are in some cases historic (think '60s modern) and in any event are generally architecturally characteristic of an era. Is it because I'm not rich enough to have political pull or don't know the right people on the city council? Why is there any inherent reason to think my house is less well-suited to such an activity as a dwelling in a more exclusive area?

  • davework Jan 20, 2015

    they can create additional traffic and parking hasslesReally? One extra car outside someone's home is that big of a "hassle"? Time for the government to step out of the nanny business and let technology and progress advance a little. People want choices.

  • Forthe Newssite Jan 20, 2015
    user avatar

    money, money, money!!!! That's all this is about. Once Raleigh figures out how to make money it will be OK.