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Residents Weigh in on ‘Homesharing’ in Grand Rapids

Posted at 10:54 PM, Nov 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-12 22:55:04-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- The next chapter in the issue of ‘homesharing’ in Grand Rapids unfolded at a public hearing Tuesday.

Right now, advertising to do that is illegal in Grand Rapids. Several residents came out to voice their opinions on both the issue and the proposed ordinance.

Airbnb’s or ‘homesharing’ is when someone rents out a room in a property they own for a short amount of time on websites like airbnb.com.

There’s a proposed ordinance making this type of rental practice legal for some people.  But, that will cost a fee that could add up to more than $2,000 just like an everyday bed and breakfast.

The vote on that ordinance was delayed for Tuesday’s public hearing on the issue.

There was a petition presented to the commissioners with more than 1,000 signatures in support of airbnb’s in Grand Rapids.

Several people also spoke out about how they feel about this renting practice, and what it means for the city of Grand Rapids.

During public comment one women said, “Turning my neighborhood into a hotel commercial district is very offensive to me and it destroys everything that I and my neighbors have invested into.”

On the other hand, a woman who hosted visitors said, “Requiring me to have a special land use permit would be inappropriate. When I sell my house I will not be selling a bed and breakfast, I will be selling my family home.”

Those in favor of airbnb’s are hoping to consult a diverse stakeholder group to bring some different perspectives to the city.

That proposed ordinance is set to be voted on at next week’s city commission meeting, but many of those opposed are asking that vote be delayed.