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.



An Excellent Commissioner – Greg Martin

I have had the privilege of serving with Commissioner Greg Martin for several years now.  In my opinion, he has been an excellent commissioner and has represented the people in District 3 faithfully and with integrity.  There are several characteristics which place Commissioner Martin in the “excellent” category.  First, he is regular in his attendance of Commission ... (click for more)

We Need Chip Baker

I proudly and strongly support Chip Baker for County Commissioner from District 2. Chip's business experience, his love for this community and his leadership skills make him a great choice for this position. Chip has served our community in a number of ways--his support and service to our public schools and others.  Chip will serve us in an outstanding manner.  ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Fire On Workman Road Tuesday Morning

Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched at 6:03 a.m. on Tuesday, to a commercial fire at 400 Workman Road. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were shooting through the roof and the request was immediately made for a second alarm response. The flames could be seen for miles as a total of 13 fire companies rushed to the scene. The large, two-story ... (click for more)

Senator Watson And Rep. Hazlewood Ask TDOT To Move Swiftly On Highway 127 Road Project Up Signal Mountain

State Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain) have asked the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to move swiftly on the Highway 127 project leading up Signal Mountain. In a sternly-worded letter, the lawmakers asked TDOT Commissioner John Schroer to prioritize the road project due to further deterioration of the road. ... (click for more)

English, Ex-East Hamilton Coach, Hired To Lead Whites Creek Boys' Hoops Team

Rodney English, former boys’ basketball coach at East Hamilton, recently was named to a similar job at Whites Creek High School in Nashville. The move was made public Monday when English’s name appeared on the official Whites Creek school directory that is annually submitted to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. The hiring of English at Whites Creek was also ... (click for more)

After Losing First Game, Lookouts Win Second Game, 8-1

The Chattanooga Lookouts won game two, 8-1, to split tonight's doubleheader against the Montgomery Biscuits.  After completing just two innings on Sunday, these teams resumed the game on Monday. Sean Poppen had started on Sunday and threw two scoreless innings, striking out four. When play resumed Monday, lefty Dietrich Enns was on the mound. It didn’t go well. He was charged ... (click for more)