Are Raleigh City Councilors Working on a Secret Plan to Ban Airbnb?
By Brent Woodcox
Now it seems that there has been a break through. Just not one that is fit for public consumption, apparently.
In response to our most recent column on the subject of short term rentals, District E City Councilor Stef Mendell may have let the cat out of the bag when it comes to the secret plan for new Airbnb rules.
Then yesterday, District B City Councilor David Cox had an enlightening Twitter exchange with former councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin on Twitter.
Now Cox claims to support legalizing short term rentals in the city. However, he has repeatedly voted down any compromise offered on the issue that would actually accomplish his stated goal to make Airbnb legal in the city, including the compromise proposal offered by the Short Term Rental Task Force that was made up of citizens appointed by him and his fellow council members last year.
It remains unclear what regulations Cox would support or what his personal position is on the matter but possibly after serving on council for the entire period that these rules have been debated he may be willing to tell us for the first time where he stands on the issue.
In his blog post, he cited the rules of three other cities, seemingly implying that those rules may serve as a template for the still confidential Raleigh proposal.
Notice what is not being considered at all at this point is the proposal offered by Raleigh citizens last year that suffered the legislative maneuver equivalent of being stuffed in a trash can.
From what we can gather, the Asheville "homestay" option seems to be favored by the so-called "new majority" of the council. That would mean that short term rentals would continue to be illegal as they are in Asheville while "homestays" would be allowed but heavily regulated. It's worth noting that Asheville's regulations have been an unmitigated disaster in the city and proven to be so unenforceable that Airbnb hosts actually made more money in Asheville last year than in any other city in North Carolina.
It remains unclear who exactly is in on this classified plan to keep short term rentals illegal in Raleigh. It's unknown whether any citizens have been consulted or involved in drafting this surreptitious document. And it's uncertain when this clandestine plan may unfold before the city council.
But rest assured, we'll continue to keep our eyes on this story as it develops.