Council passes petition for Airbnb despite fight by 2 neighbors

Tim Mahla, left, shakes hands with his dad, Walt, as John Anderson, an attorney, listens after a petition for Airbnb passes city council Tuesday. (Photo David Tulis)

A family with a high-end house in North Shore won approval for an Airbnb use from city council Tuesday despite opposition from 2 neighbors who cited a litany of complaints about a narrow street and argued that baby strollers face being scattered left and right if the permit were approved.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

Walt Mahla and his son, Tim, the father of 2 young children, made a presentation in which they said they were enhancing the value of the neighborhood and making it possible to put up the father who visits periodically from Massachusetts.

The family is represented by attorney John R. Anderson who said that the opposition arguments amounted to very little and that all streets pose a hazard to pedestrians if they are not watchful.

The younger Mr. Mahla said afterwards that the short-term vacation rental is not a huge boon to the family financially, but helps fill nonetheless.

Opposition came from Mark Stephanos, a manager at a food distribution business, and from Mike Newton, who lives across the street with wife and two small daughters.

“My main objection is from a safety perspective.” He describes how the road narrows and has part one-way and part two-way.

Says the son: “One of the things that a huge benefit to it is is that it gives us the opportunity to let us share chattanooga with other folks. It’s really a wonderful community and we’re grateful we get to do that and also it’s a way that we can [cover] some of the vacationing that we do and allow other folks in there as well.”

“Not a great help financially. It’s a very small help in terms of supplemental income” and won’t get huge use.

“It sounds like what the concern is you can’t have it for gathering, you can’t have it for parties, the road is not very well marked, and it’s unsafe, and all that is true whether or not you have a [short-term vacation rental],” says attorney John Anderson.

Also Tuesday night, council unanimously rejected one Airbnb petition, and approved another by a 100 percent vote.

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