City OKs woman’s Airbnb despite plea to avoid neighborhood change

The owner of this modest house in Chattanooga, right, wins city council OK for a short-term vacation rental after a neighbor, also a landlord, objected. (Photo Google Maps)

Neighborhood conflict flashes Tuesday night at city council as a petitioner seeks approval for an Airbnb while a young entrepreneurial neighbor objects to what he warns is a transformation of a neighborhood.

April Pardo is an absent owner of a house that would be let to quick in-and-out visitors via the Airbnb platform. She says she will have high-level guests in the business class, and will maintain scrupulous control of the property, being only 15 minutes away, with all of her neighbors having her cell phone number in case of a problem, she says.

By David Tulis / 92.7 FM NoogaRadio

Mrs. Pardo says she’s bent over backwards to comply with city and Airbnb claims upon her waiting to win a city OK. She plans to manage the property herself.

“How is it OK for them to throw up an apartment complex 100 feet from my door,” she says after hearing out her critics, “but it’s not OK for me to make money and rent a property. So I’m asking you to say yes, because I haven’t had any issues.”

The Pardo case is one of five petitions. One is delayed, three are approved, and hers is contested. Charlie Young, assistant director of development services for the city, says 114 certificates have been issued for short-term vacation rentals. No cease-and-desist letters have been sent to anyone yet from city attorney Wade Hinton’s office, he indicates. City officials are trying cajolery and requests for compliance among homeowners. The ordinance yet faces legal challenge as being unconstitutional on grounds that the city overlay map makes arbitrary and capricious distinction among parties of like legal standing. But one entrepreneur, Brian Peterson, says he plans to ignore the rules as illegal.

‘Improper vetting’ of potential renters

Mr. Wise lives next door, the 22 year old son of a local developer and landlord with long-term tenants at several addresses.

“I’m in opposition of the VRBO and short-term rental in our neighborhood for many reasons short-term rentals “are only beneficial to the homeowner not to the community surrounding it,” he says. It creates a variety of of disputes, such as those surrounding “improper vetting of potential renters, causing disputes confrontation.” It also creates  in it and also sets a precedent in the neighborhood for the VRBO short-term leasing style so president against the regulations and restrictions that are in place now.

He praises Mrs. Pardo as a neighbor, saying she is “awesome.” But the neighbors have “a different vision for what we see” in that neighborhood.

‘Touristy location’

“I just don’t want to see people in and out, you know, I don’t want to feel like I’m at a touristy location. This is my home that I work [in] and operate in the area all the time. My dogs are there. I’ve got several of my people here who rent from me and they’re there all the time. And it’s just not what I want to see this young and up-and-coming neighborhood turn into. I’d hate to see renters in and out all day long and every year every weekend you know you know she can do all those things but, you know, it’s impossible for me to try and keep up with it. I oppose it. I strongly urge you to do the same because it would set a precedent for the neighborhood that I think would be detrimental. I think you’d see a lot of growth stop. I don’t think you’d see as many people investing in that neighborhood to make it as good as it’s gonna be one day, hopefully. I think it’s a bad move for that area.”

Mr. Wise is a landlord for long-term tenants, and he and his family have $6 million invested in the area.

Council member Chip Henderson says he sees no evidence that Airbnb hurts property values, but actually helps them. People are scrambling to be included, he says, strongly suggesting that STVR is good.

Nosy neighbor has say

Cameron Becker, another neighbor, also speaks against the Pardo petition, saying his concern is “the people in and out of the house and trash, and not knowing who she is vetting.” He says he has cameras on the property.

“My whole thing is the in-and-out of safety. Half the neighborhood is great. Half is not. You just don’t know who is next to you. *** It’s be nice to have a long-term neighbor instead of people in and out, and that’s for the safety of the neighborhood and the safety of me.”

Mrs. Pardo’s request wins 100 percent approval of city council.

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