Nashville’s intense debate over how to regulate short-term rental properties once again goes before the Metro Council on Tuesday night. The public will make comments for and against services like Airbnb.
The effort is the latest since officials began working on short-term rental laws in 2011. But a deep divide persists and was on display at a lengthy Metro Planning Commission hearing in December.
On one side, there’s an army of residents who say they want to defend neighborhoods against commercial operations, and they want certain short-term rentals phased out. That’s the thrust of BL-608, sponsored by Councilman Larry Hagar, which would eventually eliminate rentals in which the operator does not live on site.
On the other side of the argument are the online companies themselves, plus the people who rent rooms or homes. They argue it would be unfair if the city dramatically reversed course now. They tend to support BL-937, which has been in the works from a special Metro Council committee for the past few months.
That bill would grandfather in existing permit-holders, but tighten the cap on short-term rentals outside of the urban area, among other measures.
Several members of the council, along with Vice Mayor David Briley, have said they can’t predict how the council will vote.
“I don’t know which way the community wants to go,” Briley told the planning commission, adding that neither proposal is perfect.
After Tuesday’s public hearing on BL-937, the council is aiming for a final decision on Jan. 16, when members will pick between the competing approaches.