Chattanooga real estate agent Sarah Brogdon has just built 220,000 on Fagan Street on the main street two weeks ago to use a one-bedroom unit as an Airbnb or other short-term vacation rental home for visitors to Chattanooga. I bought a dollar condo.
Brogdon obtained her business license and applied for the necessary permits from the city for her first such short-term rental. But before she started her latest business venture, the Chattanooga City Council resolved on Tuesday to immediately ban short-term leasing of such non-owned homes while the city was studying the matter.
After voting 7-2 to refuse amendments to provide another month for issuing permits to people like Brogdon who have already invested in such homes, the council has Airbnb or other Unanimously approved a moratorium for the rest of the year to issue further short permits-a long-term vacation rental unit for homes where the owner does not live in the home.
“I think it’s unfair to retroactively limit how you can use your property,” Brogdon said after Tuesday’s council meeting.
However, Lookout Valley Council Chairman Chip Henderson said Wednesday that council members were not used to accommodate residents and community members in Highland Park, North Chattanooga, and South Side. , It is an accommodation facility for visitors.
“There are concerns that these areas are changing due to the temporary population that results from short-term vacation rentals other than these homeowners,” Henderson said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We felt like we had reached an urgent stage to address these concerns and ensure that we were taking the right approach.”
Henderson and other council members want to study changes to the city’s licensing and zoning rules for this year’s short-term vacation rentals to promote better areas with affordable housing for locals. increase.
North Chattanooga councilor Jenny Hill told the council on Tuesday, “We believe that prosperous multipurpose districts are economically resilient and districts that rely solely on tourist accommodation are economically vulnerable. I think it will be economically proven. ” “I want to allow people living in Chattanooga to stay in Chattanooga.”
Half a dozen chattanooga running short-term rental housing outside their homes after Congress approved the moratorium without much discussion on Tuesday night, during the last public comment session at the parliamentary meeting. Opposed to.
“In the past, there was always community opinion, but this time it wasn’t,” Lisa Brown, managing broker for cry-like real estate, who owns several short-term vacation rentals, said at a meeting on Tuesday. Stated.
Mr Brown ensures that short-term vacation rentals work within the city’s noise and other regulations through the current permit process, but too many short-term rentals operate outside the city’s permit process. He said he was not paying taxes. Brown estimates that over 400 short-term vacation rentals in Chattanooga are not properly permitted. According to Brown, the vacation website has identified 936 short-term vacation rental sites available in Chattanooga, but so far only 405 have been granted by the city.
“The problem seems to be in enforcing the rules you have,” Brown said. “Last year, Airbnb alone brought $ 3.5 million to our city. We don’t count all the money these visitors have spent in our community, but it could be more. . “
Brad Wardlow, another real estate agent who runs short-term vacation rental homes, said the number of Airbnb and other short-term rental homes isn’t large enough to impact the entire Chattanooga housing market, but such accommodation is He said it was important in promoting Chattanooga’s $ 1.1 billion-the annual tourism industry.
“If you want to continue to be called a scenic city, you need to have a house that many people want to stay in, not a hotel,” Wardlow said at a meeting on Tuesday. “Without these [short-term vacation rentals], We will lose to the conventions and tourists who come to our city. “
Army veteran Joe Riley, who served in Afghanistan, said he started a short-term vacation rental business while in the military to help provide short-term housing in the military town.
“When I left the army, I returned to Chattanooga where I wanted to build a business, and now I’m told I can’t do that,” Riley told the council on Tuesday night. “I’m not from California, I’m not from New York, and I’m not adding value to real estate.”
Riley asked the city to continue to grant permits to locals buying real estate for short-term vacation rentals.
“The property we bought tried to improve, but as far as I know, there were no complaints or problems with our home,” he said. “If you have a complaint, there are already a lot of ordinances to address the concerns of the resident. I don’t think the responsible operator should be punished. And for those who are already doing business, this change is retroactive. I don’t think it’s fair to do so. Plan their property. “
However, some neighboring leaders praised the city’s moratorium.
Emerson Birch, chairman of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association, said local neighborhoods would lose residents, voting rights and community awareness when housing became a short-term rental unit.
“As a traveler, I think Airbnbs is great, but as a resident, I think this type of home can be very challenging,” Birch said in an interview Wednesday. “We have a block with 3 or 4 Airbnb in Highland Park, and as a resident, you suddenly no longer have a neighbor and you don’t know who to expect in these homes. “
Birch said the city needs to set better limits to prevent some areas from becoming completely vacation homes.
Ken Hayes, a former real estate developer, president of River City, and top aide to former Mayor John Kinsey, who was unable to run for council last year, said the city was trying to prevent some condominiums. Because it will be like a hotel that states that the short-term vacation rental policy needs to be revised.
On Mitchell Avenue in the Fort Negray district, where Hayes lives, four of the nine condos are quickly becoming short-term vacation rentals, and some of the other 19-unit condo development units are also being used for short-term rentals.
“We’re not against Airbnbs by any means, but I think there should be a density limit to protect these short vacation rentals from being too many in the neighborhood,” Hayes said in an interview Wednesday. “.
The city has somehow regulated the operation of short-term vacation rentals since 2009.
Existing city regulations on short-term vacation rentals give notice to neighbors around Airbnb’s proposals or similar developments in residential areas, challenge the permit within 30 days, and are reviewed by the city council as a whole. increase. So far, the council has resolved to deny permission in all seven cases in which four or more such letters were submitted for the proposed short-term vacation rental.