Little Rock grapples with Airbnb

By Max Brantley

The Little Rock City Board soon will take up whether further regulation is necessary for the growing industry of short-term rental of space in private dwellings — the Airbnb business to name the leading Internet rental gateway.

Slated for a future Board agenda is City Board review of the Planning Commission’s 6-1 votes in favor of two separate proposals to allow garage apartments in the 200 block of Crystal Court to be used for short-term rentals. The city planning staff opposed the proposals.

There may be 300 Airbnb listings in Little Rock, the Planning Commission heard but there’s really no accurate gauge of the short-term rental business in Little Rock.

The staff has concerns about short-term rentals, a commercial lodging business. The writeup on the issue for the City Board said on one of the applications said:

Ruth Bell of the League of Women Voters spoke in opposition to the request. She stated city ordinances have not been updated in response to short-term rentals and the city does not know the number of short-term rentals. While taxes may be collected, it cannot be confirmed for a particular property or operator. The density of short-term rentals in a neighborhood cannot be established and there is no information available on effects on residents and neighborhoods. Working with the current zoning ordinance, staff has defined short-term rental as commercial rental and unless the ordinance is updated, she would urge the commission to vote no on this request. Commissioner Berry stated it seemed to him the distinction between an accessory dwelling unit and a short-term rental was unclear and does not see this as a detrimental land use in a residential neighborhood.

Read the full Ark Times article here.

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