On July 2, a letter writer asked the question: "Does eliminating locals pave the way for developers, so they can add 34 Airbnb-type vacation rentals?" ("Follow the money," The Astorian). Maybe. What do you call 34 Airbnbs in one building? A motel.
Let me put in another motel on the riverfront, and I will give you 32 units of low-income housing. Great idea. I think we should extend this idea to all the new motels being approved. Hollander Hospitality's new motel should be required to supply low-income housing for the low-wage jobs being created. Call it "housing for the housekeepers."
I guess they will have to get 34 permits for the Airbnbs. All 34 units will have to be safety inspected. You will have a building where, according to city code, all the Airbnb rooms will have to have a fire extinguisher, while the long-term rental units have no such requirement. I find that telling.
The homestay lodging permit is designed to keep the locals from wanting to try having an Airbnb. Safety inspection is just code for "make it expensive."
A sub-headline on The Astorian front page recently read: "New license meant to curb illegal rentals” ("Astoria gets better grasp on homestay lodging," July 13). It does not. It only hurts the small locals, while it opens the door for the big players.
Here’s a way to fix this: Change the code so that next year all a local needs to show to get a homestay permit is their property tax bill. It will show that the locals have paid enough.