Airbnb Proposal Stands On False Premise; Let Gig City Be An Open City

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A City Council proposal to regulate home sharing networks offers false choices and pretends that city government has authority to regulate what private people do in their own houses.

The council will vote June 13 on a proposal by council member Chip Henderson to set up a special district in which residents may, without rezoning, use their houses commercially through sharing networks such as Airbnb.



The phony claim of authority arises from the use of a piece of paper. That piece of paper is a map of the city showing all its districts and neighborhoods.

The map is a form of propaganda. Mapmakers often serve the interests of controlling parties in capitals of ambitious nation-states who survey neighbors and stir concern about external threat and enemies. The map being used by council members is from the regional planning agency, implying that every area of the city, and all its human activity occurring within private dwellings, is subject to the printer of that map and those who gaze upon its traces with an eye to using municipal authority.

In the false choice presented, council members may elect to have parts or all of their respective areas within the district, or outside of the special district. Council members, in other words, decide whether residents in their districts may use Airbnb subject to regulation, or participate in Airbnb only through rezoning.

The City Council should respect private property rights and keep its hands off the private rental market, which in 2016 is estimated to have created $2.5 million in cash flow for private homeowners.

Zoning and external controls upon private property are unconstitutional, and are ripe for legal challenge to overturn the entire system. Chattanoogans and Hamilton Countians have tolerated zoning for decades without legal challenge.

Councilman Henderson says 500 rental houses in the city exist, but only 25 of them sit in the R-4 zones that theoretically allow them. A petition for rezoning a single lot in a residential area creates opposition, because neighbors fear that the house could be torn down and converted into a store, gas station, condo or office building.

Zoning controls are an offense against innocent and harmless use of private property and private dwellings. Because the city has gone so far as to create a zoning regime, its legislators on the council feel obliged to do something about Airbnb, a Web network that seems to void existing legal categories.

But the city should remain a free market haven, and should make a bold and noisy showing that it has a hands-off perspective on Airbnb and the sharing economy.

For the city to try to control the sharing economy, it declares is proprietary interest in the private property and private doings of private men and women in their own personal residences. It should slap cold water on its face, brace itself, and keep its hands out of the people’s business.

The Gig City with its Internet boulevards and its national reputation should act consistently with its pretensions of being an advanced and forward-looking city.

It should leave alone Airbnb investors, families and homeowners — and their many out-of-town guests — and declare itself an open city.

David Tulis

davidtuliseditor@gmail.com

— David Tulis hosts a talk show 9-11 a.m. weekday mornings at Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM, covering local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.



City Council’s Critical Call—Creek Consensus?

The Friars Branch Stream Restoration Project cost the city $1.2 million after new homes were flooded along Hickory Valley Road caused by inadequate stormwater management during the development of Hamilton Place upstream.  The residents dealing with the floodwaters suffered cleanup costs as did the city.  Allowing homebuilders to cover up more surface with impervious homes ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The School Board Bullies

When the good people of Signal Mountain join with their loved ones to give thanks for many, many blessings on this hallowed Thursday, you can bet the Hamilton County Department of Education will be on nary a list. For the past year a diligent advisory committee has studied the feasibility of forming its own school district and exactly one week prior to Thanksgiving, the misguided ... (click for more)

Former Executive Assistant To Pilot Sales Director Recalls Being Interviewed By FBI While Nursing Her Baby On The Front Porch

The executive assistant to the vice president of sales at Pilot Flying J told a Chattanooga jury on Monday that she never expected to be interviewed by the FBI on the front porch of her Knoxville home, nursing a one-month-old and with her other two young children running around in the yard. Katy Bibee, who worked directly for an expected star witness for the prosecution, said ... (click for more)

Tony Williams, 26, Shot On Dodson Avenue Late Sunday Night

Tony Williams, 26, was shot late Sunday night on Dodson Avenue. Chattanooga Police responded at 11:50 p.m.,  to the 900 block of Dodson Avenue on a shooting.   Upon arrival, police located the victim who was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. HCEMS responded and transported the victim to a nearby hospital. The victim advised police that the ... (click for more)

Can Win vs. Vandy Take Sting Out Of Vols' Dismal Season?

Brady Hoke held his second press conference as interim head coach at Tennessee as the Vols began preparation Monday for Saturday’s season-ending game against Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium. Game time is 4 p.m. and the SEC Network will televise the action. Tennessee (4-7, 0-7) and Vanderbilt (4-7, 0-7) renew their rivalry for the 111 th time, with the Vols holding a lop-sided ... (click for more)

TSSAA Football Playoff, Results

TSSAA Football Playoff Results, Matchups All Starts 7 p.m. Local Time, Unless Noted First Round Results, Nov. 3 Second Round Results, Nov. 10 Quarterfinals Games, Nov. 17 Semifinal Games, Nov. 24 Division I Class 1A First-Round Results South Pittsburg 41, Monterey 0 Jo Byrns 26, Copper Basin 0 Whitwell 65, ... (click for more)