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  1. Contrary to the opinion posted, AirBNB has been a benefit to the town and the only confirmable negatives have been perpetrated by the people who oppose it. They, much like the “fake news” we are hearing so much about, tend to ignore anything they do not want to hear and instead rally behind a demagogue spewing fear and distorting any known facts. Let’s look at some of these claims.
    1. Because of “somewhere in the nation, Air BNB has been disruptive, therefore all BNB’s are disruptives”. Such a claim would never stand up in a debate format due to its attempt to improperly classify a problem with a minute few as representative of the whole.
    Short-term rentals in Lake Bluff have been happening for years and will continue to happen. More specifically, AirBNB has been happening in Lake Bluff for over 3 years and there has never been a police report or any problem. … Given there were 3 documented AirBNB locations (for a couple years), this works out to 0.09 % of the houses in Lake Bluff.

    2. Calling the activity illegal without knowing the facts reminds me of people who routinely put down the Bible without having ever read it. Here are the facts. Based on law, we currently have the right to rent out the property month to month. No one using sound legal reasoning can think otherwise. The problem here is that the person who started all this knows that we also have the status of legal non-conforming usage of the property as it was built as a rental in a residential area. They just don’t like it. Although when they purchased their home, they knew both floors of the home were being used as a rental.

    3. There is the claim AirBNB decreases property values. Here we see the writer switch to using a ”scape goat” tactic. We can all agree that home prices, especially on higher priced homes. have dropped dramatically. For residents under water in their mortgages or planning to use the sale of their home to retire and move on, there is a fear attempting to be capitalized on. Here are some real facts to ponder.
    a. From 2008 until 2015, the population of Lake Bluff has dropped 8 % from 6179 to 5675. In summary, well before AirBNB hit the scene, more people are moving out of Lake Bluff than moving into it. In short, a city especially one whose borders are limited, is in decline when the population drops and this impacts real estate prices negatively in favor of communities that are growing.
    b. The current declining population is in part due to the state budget crisis which trickles down to the local communities who pass this on as higher taxes. Higher taxes coupled with more stagnant middle class wages limits the upward process of houses.
    c. From the time the first AirBNB started in Lake Bluff until the present, there has been a slight increase in property values. Because such a small percentage of the homes in Lake Bluff are AirBNB, the results of AirBNB on the local community are insignificant. Attempts to demonize AIrBNB based on the facts is only fake news. The homes in gated communities (association developments with renting restrictions) in LB have experienced the same decline in value as other areas. Proving there is no protection of property values with or without short term rentals.

    We agree in that there is not enough facts being reviewed. One of the facts totally ignored is that opponents to AirBNB have done damage to the town’s Mayberry promoted marketing and their continued antics will further serve to deteriorate the towns condition. Let’s look at the facts to date as follows:
    1. A well respected community resident, who was an Air BNB host approximately 30 days a year for the past 3 years, lost $ 18,000 in booked orders this year because one person did not like it. (Money used to pay taxes) This individual has done much to promote the town, much more than many others. Certainly a lot more than the neighbor who goes about complaining about the 4th of July Parade and not having driveway access during the Criterium.
    2. If the height of a community is how well we treat the weakest members of our community; depriving a widow who takes care of her Mom and finds an additional income source to make ends meet, does not put us on a pedestal. Nor denying a smart graduate student from entrepreneur activity by home sharing his small apartment for a night while giving prospective students a tour of the local college.
    Treating former members of the community and distinguished visiting guests as transients is not good.
    3. Glaring at tenants who are looking to buy a home in the area does not support real estate prices. Anyone who has insisted on driving a car before buying knows that, if they do not like what they see, they will be moving on with their selection. In this regard, Lake Bluff is 0 for 2 in people who have rented with us looking to purchase a home. Our current tenants are on the hunt. I would suggest the people who oppose short-term rentals at least fake it and try to be more neighborly.
    We agree that short-term rentals should be regulated. Not because of anything that has happened or would happen on our premises, but to help residents feel more comfortable and bring in tax revenue.
    Further, your claim of “moral authority of the rule of law” is a joke when referenced to the false and slanderous accusations we have had to endure. Regarding the other concerns posted, note the following:
    • safety, I consider the people we have rented to as trustworthy as any of my neighbors. This is due to the exceptional screening processes we have used which are now easily available through online sharing platforms.
    • limited enforcement resources of existing laws, with no problems reported, this is not a factor. Also the new BetterNorthShoreNeighbors group goal is to look out for each other to hold one another to quality standards.
    • loss of sense of community. A stereotypical Mayberry community would welcome visitors with open arms and not label them as transients. We have enjoyed being hosts while showing off what our town has to offer and in the process supporting local businesses. However, if your goal is to create an elitist town, continue on your current path which necessitates rising taxes to further exclude the middle class from the community.
    I accept you do not respect any of the benefits of “short-term” rentals. But to be clear, let me list them as follows:
    1. Improve the look of our Block. With the extra income, we have accelerated the repair to our property including cutting down a dangerous tree and repairing an unsafe old garage. With the repaired garage, neither our tenants nor ourselves have to park on the street.
    2. Improve the diversity of our community. I do not like the “stagnant” culture that Lake Bluff is leaning toward. The people who we allow to rent have been good people. People in neighboring towns are looking at our community in another light.
    3. Support local town businesses. By renting short-term, we bring people into town who would have no other reason to visit. And with the high turnover rate of town businesses, they can use all the support we can give them.
    4. Support real estate prices. With our short-term renters looking to buy property, we have the home field advantage. Is it too much to ask for people in town to be nice.
    5. People who are able to home share and host short term rentals can avoid foreclosure and challenges from other life situations, more easily.
    6. Reduce property taxes. Yes, any revenue generated for the town by visitors helps reduce the taxes which property owners have to pay. At this stage of growth, short term rentals represent a solution of which opponents promise nothing but higher taxes. Like the effects on the community, the impact is negligible due to the small number of rentals. But this is the new economy. Like a seedling, it can be nurtured properly to bear fruit. Or it can be crushed by ignorance.

    Opponents of short term rentals need to understand, there are limits to what you can make your neighbor do. Home sharing is a fundamental property right, it is not illegal or immoral and has a long-term standing in our country’s history. To want to change that is synonymous with the radical groups wanting to remove statues because they are offensive to their point of view.
    While free speech does not include shouting fire in a crowded theatre, if there is one people need to know. And quid pro quo on the clichés. We are a country of laws based on “innocent until proven guilty”. Outside of false and slanderous comments by opponents, where is the proof of any problem with Air BNB in our community? Short term rentals should be nurtured intelligently by the town as a partial solution to improving the community and not dictated by an uninformed mob manipulated by a demagogue praying upon unfounded fears.
    We need to start slowly allowing a few short-term rentals to proceed, measure the benefits on the local community, and from there extrapolate to where the community needs to go. At this time, we do not need to fix something that is not broken. Instead, we need to make better use of the resources available in our community and work as a team to support real problem solving.

    • Lake Bluffs roots are in hosting vacationing families. People who seek to restrict short term rentals to “preserve” the Lake Bluff way of life are hypocrites.

      The welcoming atmosphere of Lake Bluff is what has always made it unique to all the other North Shore towns.

      If someone wants their town to have that gated community type of atmosphere, find one and move there. Don’t change what makes Lake Bluff great.

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