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Proposal would require zoing approval for all short-term rentals in the RAD

Under city law, any lodging project with more than 20 rooms must get the zoning approval from Asheville City Council before being built. But a proposed ban would change that for the River Arts District. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Ellie is an artist who has lived in Asheville's River Arts District for five years.

She says she supports city council's proposed ban on some short-term rentals and Airbnb's in the RAD.

"You don't know who is coming in. You don't know much about them, and you don't know their past, if they have a bad past or a good past," she said.

But other River Arts District residents, like Adrienne Hawkins, say having short-term rentals makes living in this expensive part of Asheville possible.

"Airbnb has been a very positive thing," Hawkins said. "One room in our house is rented out to Airbnb. It's allowed us to have affordable housing."

Darren Green, owner of Old Wood Company, says the real issue lies with a proposed development across from New Belgium Brewery. Green says that development would consist of several short-term rental units.

"From a business standpoint, I would love to see more hotel stays, and certainly more people living and working down here," says Green.

But some say city leaders want to control how that happens.

Under current city law, any lodging project with more than 20 rooms must get the zoning approval from city council before being built. But this proposed ban would change that for the River Arts District to include any lodging facility, even those with fewer than 20 rooms.

Green says that would stifle small businesses in an area that relies on them to thrive.

"An added burden to small developers that may not be able to afford the expense involved with going to city council, hiring an attorney, hiring an architect before the project is even approved," Green said of zoning approval.

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