Lifelong resident of Soddy Daisy Eric Booker came to the Soddy Daisy Commission meeting Thursday night asking for help. He said he has invested in a home around the lake. The house next door to his has recently sold to an out-of-town investor, he said, and “I am scared to death that it is being turned into an Airbnb.” Work is being done on the house now, and Mr. Booker wanted assurances from the commissioners that a permit would not be given to the new owner of the house, which would allow a short-term rental there.
The neighborhood is zoned R-1, Single Family Residential, not for a hotel, which is basically what an Airbnb is, he said.
Especially since it has the extra value of being on the lake, and believes the city will see a growing number of applications. He is anticipating that there will be multiple cars blocking the roads bringing many people to crowd into the house, and partying all night long. That would allow strangers to be five feet from his porch, he said.
In researching Airbnbs, he said, different cities have different protections in place for its citizens. Chattanooga will only allow the short-term rentals in specified zones, and if there are objections from four residents nearby the property, the commissioners have the ability to deny a permit. He asked the commissioners to put similar restrictions in place in Soddy Daisy to protect his family and the subdivision.
Commissioner Gene Shipley said he did not think that was a bad idea. He said he did not know any of the board members who would like to have a short-term rental next door to their house. Mayor Rick Nunley said problems are not exclusive to short-term rentals - some houses that are rented long term end up being a public nuisance. He told Mr. Booker that he appreciated his concern and that the ordinance is what gives the commissioners the ability to control the rentals and revoke permits.
City Attorney Sam Elliott will add wording to the ordinance regarding restrictions to short-term rentals. The additions he will make to the ordinance will then be considered and accepted or rejected by the commissioners. Attorney Elliott also remarked that there is a presumption legally, that people can do what they want with their property. The city cannot hold off on issuing a permit unless the ordinance is amended.
The commissioners passed a resolution which established a policy for deannexation from the city. This is just a guideline, said Attorney Elliott. The council would make the final decision on any deannexation request.
Commissioners authorized making an application for the Public Entity Partners’ Driver Safety Matching grant program. The money received will go toward reimbursing the city for in-car cameras that have already been ordered. Other help to pay for them comes from a TSO grant and the sales of surplus equipment.
City Manager Burt Johnson gave the commission bad news about the paving project on Dayton Pike. The city put the work out to bid and received just one proposal. That bid was for $4.4 million - much higher than the $3.5 million the city received in the form of a grant for this paving. Mr. Johnson said that $1 million of the bid price was for guardrails. The cost for guardrails has increased from $25 to $60 per foot. The commissioners agreed with the recommendation to reject the resurfacing bid and wait until the spring. During that time, prices will be monitored and there will be a new request for bids in the spring. Guardrails will be removed from the plans and will be replaced as the city is able.
The cost of dispatch consoles has also increased since they were included in the budget. The cost of the software has gone from $130,000 to $155,000. A recently sold transport van brought $9,000 that will be used to help pay for the increase.
The mayor was authorized to sign a contract for communications with Motorola.
City Manager Johnson announced that the Farmers market fall festival will be taking place October 2 at the park around Poe’s Tavern. There will be a lot of vendors, games and blow-ups as well as live music, he said.
The Soddy Daisy Chamber of Commerce wants to hold a grand reopening / ribbon cutting during their lunch meeting on Friday, October 22, said Mayor Rick Nunley after attending a chamber meeting on Thursday.