City Council Turns Down 4 Of 5 Short Term Vacation Rentals; Meeting Ends Abruptly

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The City Council on Tuesday night turned down four of five short term vacation rental requests.

Much of the objection involved absentee owners.

Some of the applicants had not completed the checklist of requirements, such as working smoke detectors, prior to the meeting.

Turned down were:

Virginia Johnson. A resolution approving Short Term Vacation Rental Application No. 18-STVR-00106 for property located at 711 Oxford Road. (District 2)

Melissa Manwaring. A resolution approving Short Term Vacation Rental Application No. 18-STVR-00101 for property located at 1724 Kirby Avenue. (District 9)

Kurtis Morris/Scenic City Investments, LLC. A resolution approving Short Term Vacation Rental Application No. 18-STVR-00116 for property located at 5410 Alabama Avenue. (District 7)

Jeffrey and Katelyn Rau. A resolution approving Short Term Vacation Rental Application No. 18-STVR-00130 for property located at 514 Crewdson Street. (District 2)

The only approval was:

Christie Burns/Vision Partners, LLC. A resolution approving Short Term Vacation Rental Application Nos. 18-STVR-00134 and 00135 for property located at 1603 Williams Street (Units B & H). (District 7)

A foe of the Oxford Road request said 17 neighbors were opposed.

Ms. Manwaring said it was short term vacation rentals that led her and her husband, Scott, to Chattanooga from Atlanta. She said they were given a $200 room at the Bluff View Inn and fell in love with the city. She said they returned for 15 other visits, staying in home rentals.

The couple said they bought property on Kirby to make rentals available to others. But Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod was opposed, saying most of her residents disfavored such rentals, especially when the owner was not on premises.

Several St. Elmo residents spoke out against the application on Alabama Avenue, saying such rents were ruining the quaint character of St. Elmo long dominated by home ownership and occupancy. One resident said they brought "a dramatic downgrading of the neighborhood."

Katelyn Rau said she and her husband moved from Chattanooga due to a job change and wanted to rent their home. She said a nearby resident would manage it and make sure neighbors were protected. However, Councilman Jerry Mitchell moved to deny the Crewdson request, citing opposition he had heard from.

The Williams Street application was okayed after Councilman Erskine Oglesby said he had visited the building and spoke with other tenants.

Doug Hightshue said he earlier bought two buildings on Williams. He said there are regular tenants in six of the eight units at the location requested for two short term rentals. 

The meeting ended abruptly when Marie Mott was told she had already had her two allotted turns speaking in the month. She continued talking, though Council Chairman tried to restrain her. Finally, Councilman Chip Henderson called for the council to adjourn, and the council members quickly left the dais.

Chairman Smith told Ms. Mott she had stifled the speech of a man who was at the podium ready to talk next.

 


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