Well here we are again, back with the Airbnb controversy. This short term rental debate seems to be tearing the community apart.
We have been presented with two options, a total probation or a set of controlling rules and regulations. The former is simple, uncomplicated, the latter is complicated, divisive and filled with possible unintended and unfavorable consequences.
First and to be clear, short term rentals genteelly referred to as B & B’s, are in reality, transient occupancy. Codifying transient occupancy with a set of rules and regulations is the opening of the potential cascading of unintended and undesirable outcomes, among them:
• Enforcement of the rules and regulations and the application of penalties for breach becomes a serious challenge; cost, resources, effectiveness.
• Inevitable growth of a permanent transient population who have no emotional or financial investment in the community. Absent that investment, respect for the community is diminished by that narrow slice of the residents and can lead to bad outcomes. This is evidenced by the probation of rental units among so many condo associations.
• As transient occupancy units grow, there will be the inevitable demand to the village for liberalizing the rules to make the business easier and more profitable.
• Legal exposure to the Village for either permitting or not enforcing rules pertaining to government mandates such as handicap accommodations along with safety and health standards.
• The existence of transient housing will, in all likelihood, diminish the marketability or value of real estate.
• A growing transient population is likely lead to law enforcement challenges.
The movement for the Village to accept and accommodate transient occupancy is from but a small minority of the population of residents yet this idea, if implemented, will impact the vast majority who are either strongly against or ambivalent, at least until such housing opens next door. It seems to me therefore, that any decision to proceed is favoring the minority to the detriment of the majority and has and will continue to polarize Lake Bluff residents at large, and to what purpose? What is the benefit?
This is an obviously risky venture loaded with land mines and has plagued other towns and villages in the Chicago area and around the country. If it were not controversial, why would it be banned and the subject of study in so many places?
This looks like an experiment that could go terribly wrong and an unnecessary risk to Lake Bluff. What is the hurry, what’s the benefit and why the risk? Try putting the genie back in the bottle once we start down this path; not possible. Let’s place the idea in the “too hard to handle” pile and implement a total ban on short term rentals, herein after to be known as transient occupancy. Look it up, fits perfectly.