Residents applaud bill passage that keeps houses as homes, not full-time hotels

Last week, Metro Council voted to support legislation regarding short-term rental properties that protects neighborhoods by phasing out the permitting of Type-2 not-owner occupied, short-term rental properties in residential-only zoning.

The primary complaint has been that type-2 short-term rental properties (STRP) are not an appropriate accessory use to residentially zoned property. The passage of 608 restores integrity to residential-only zoned neighborhoods.

Metro Council Bill 608 is not a ban or “taking of property rights,” as Airbnb and Home- Away lobbyists wanted Nashvillans to think, according to Metro Councilmember Angie Henderson (District 34).

“It is an annual permitted use, that has been in place for only three years,” she stated. “While 608 prevents new permitting of Type-2 properties in residential only zoning from its passage, it provides a very fair and friendly three years for owners to renew their permit while they consider whether to switch the home to a long-term rental (true housing) or sell the home in our booming real estate market. Bill 608 is simply phasing out of a particular permit type in a particular type of zoning.”

She went on to say that BL-608 does not diminish legitimate “home sharing,” which will still be allowed in all areas of Nashville, as it currently is via Type-1 annual permits. Type-2 annual permits will still be allowed in mixed-use and commercial area.

Satellite cities, such as Forest Hills and Oak Hill, administer zoning separately from Metro Nashville. Neither of which allows short-term rental properties.

Council members contend that Airbnb rentals compromise the cohesion of neighborhoods and diminish quality of life and peaceful enjoyment of one’s property. They are also in agreement that these rentals have reduced the affordability and availability of housing in several neighborhoods.

“Houses should be homes not full-time hotel businesses,” Henderson said.
And, homeowners agree.

Throughout the legislative process of Bill 608 and Bill 937, which was supported by the Airbnb industry, residents have been outspoken and supported Bill 608.

One couple told of the negative impact that STRPs have on Nashville’s residential neighborhoods. He and his wife “sold our beloved 14 year home this past September to escape two STR’s operating across the street from us. There were more than 55 STR’s within a one-square-mile radius of our home. The constant noise, parking, and general disregard for neighbors diminished our quality of life. Let’s keep our neighborhoods for actual neighbors, so that no other families have to sell a home they loved.”

Another residential property owner stated: “When I moved to this residentially zoned neighborhood, it was two miles from the nearest commercial operation. With the out-of-country owner turning into a self-service unsupervised unmarked mini-hotel, my house is 50 feet from commercial activity 24/7. This has caused many problems that weren’t happening before.”

In comments to Metro Council, this resident stated: “Location was quiet and private.” “Peaceful” “Nice quiet neighborhood” “We felt comfortable and safe in this house” “Neighborhood is very quiet” These are all quotes from the guest/customer reviews of the investor owned Airbnb next door to me. Ironically, these are also the things that have been taken away from me by having this Airbnb next door!”

And lastly, “Dear Council Members, You literally have the future of Nashville neighborhoods in your hands. Will our neighborhoods be places for families to thrive, to know their neighbors, to volunteer at schools and non-profits, and to contribute to the larger community? Or will they continue down the slippery slope of commercialization, disruption, and loss of the quality of life promised by residential zoning that platforms such as Airbnb have brought about? We have been told by the industry that enforcement will solve the problems. But Chief Anderson says that’s not the job of the Metro Nashville Police Department. And if enforcement were the answer, would cities all over the U. S. and the world be attempting to get this exploitation of residential areas under control? The industry has apologized for trying to preempt Nashville’s authority to regulate it. But they are back at the General Assembly again, pushing for preemption. That shows the nature of this industry. It will do anything to get what it wants.”

Wanda Southerland
Contributor to The News