Questions about Airbnb proposals

Dear Editor,
The article “City takes aim at Airbnbs,” Dec. 4, left me with a few questions. The lack of an ordinance allowing “x” means “x” is not allowed? Did I read that correctly? Hypothetically, if no ordinance exists allowing non-owner vehicles to park in driveways overnight, then my guests can’t park in my driveway overnight? How does that make sense?
And what’s the difference between paying someone to stay in your home while you are on vacation for a week, and someone paying you to stay in your home while they are on vacation for a week?
I am a member of the Airbnb community. I’ve stayed in Airbnbs exclusively, for both business and pleasure, for many years. It would be extremely disappointing if local governments threw a wrench in my travel plans. And because of my positive experiences as a guest, I chose to become an Airbnb host as well.
Neighbors, we must recognize the difference between buying a house in Clarkston for the sole purpose of running a short-term rental business, and folks like me hosting guests on and off to help defray the costs of home improvements and college tuition.
If an ordinance is something we should talk about, then let’s not forget the difference between the two.
We host only five-star rated guests vetted by the Airbnb community. Most folks we host are concert goers looking for a place to stay with a short Lyft ride back from DTE Energy Music Theatre. A place where they can relax and unwind. Our home is that place.
Open our guest book and you will read Gateway, Essence on Main, and Frank & Me are must stops after lunch or before dinner. We recommend The Woodshop for barbecue, the Village Café for breakfast, and The Fed for brunch. If a bottle of wine and cooking at home is their thing, then Rudy’s Market and Neiman’s Market are the places to shop. Our guests bring economic value to local business owners, and launching authors. The guest book comments are a testament to their patronage.
Regarding safety, I have more rules for my Airbnb guests than I do for my own family. I hosted 15 guests for Thanksgiving. Should the city have come and inspected our smoke detectors? Shouldn’t every home have working smoke detectors? Are we going to inspect every home? A tragic fire can strike any home, not just ours simply because we allow fellow Airbnb community members stay here.
My family settled in Clarkston in the 1930’s. I was born and raised here. I love this town. I agree we need to protect our community from commercialism. But shouldn’t we do so without infringing on our neighbor’s ability to exercise their civil liberties or local business owners to thrive? Perhaps we should all sit down and have a conversation.
Ann Margaret Johns, author

One Response to "Questions about Airbnb proposals"

  1. Cory Johnston   December 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    All good questions and concerns. At Monday’s city council meeting, the council approved short term rentals in the residential districts with controls to be put in place. No information on what controls, when, or what happens in the meantime to those that already exist. There has also been no discussion of rentals in the downtown commercial area which does have both commercial and residential rentals. Given Ann Margaret Johns comments about the businesses frequented by guests, it would seem that might be a more preferred location and why would there be separate rules for a place as tiny as the Village of Clarkston?


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