by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The City of Asheville is explaining why it needs to regulate Airbnb’s.
But as with any business venture where money is exchanged for goods or services, requirements are needed to uphold community standards. It is City government’s role and responsibility to protect the safety and welfare of its residents, neighborhoods and guests.
Neighbors want to know that the overnight rental next door will not become a spring break hotel and keep them up all night. Public safety professionals want to be sure that the property is safe for guests — that the electrical system is up-to-code, smoke detectors are installed, paths to fire exits are clear, etc.
In addition to providing an opportunity for residents to generate income, the City must also keep visitor accommodations safe and protect neighborhood character.
Let’s get real. If you go to Craigslist to see what is renting on the low-end, you will likely find the bulk of places affordable to people making up to 150 percent of what I make are “420 friendly.” That means they are pot dens. And that means people who are afraid of getting arrested for having somebody plant a bong in their bed wind up being even more rent-burdened. Many opt to move out-county, which the city probably appreciates; there’s no telling how much the displaced, un-stoned voters would upset the balance of power.
As it turned out, the nice, slightly more than affordable trailer room somebody just rented out in the county was 420 friendly, too; the landpeople just didn’t bother to advertise it. What’s more, after work, the straight-laced geek now walks over five homeless people the good-hearted, kindly, compassionate landlady couldn’t allow to crash outside in the cold. So now, said renter has to patronize the local coffee shop in the mornings because the bathroom in the trailer is always occupied. I’m not making this stuff up. Even ten years ago, the same renter learned she was renting a room in violation of zoning codes. That was the place where the dude broke in and trashed the place, and the landlady evicted said tenant for calling the police. This is not the worst of it. We all know at least a couple old mama figures in public housing with twenty able-bodied men crashing out and eating up her food stamps. But the city wants to raise taxes to fortify code enforcement to make sure guests have working fire alarms.