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Our View Boo-Hoo, no AirBNB in Marion


Well, for the sake of “protecting the integrity of residential neighborhoods”, no longer will Marion residents trying and make a buck off renting out bedrooms to travelers while also irritating neighbors and stirring up controversy be allowed.

This all came about when a homeowner in the upscale neighborhood of River Trace was discovered renting out rooms to travelers or those individuals taking part in events such as Memphis in May or other popular Memphis venues.

The homeowner his neighbors were complaining about was using the popular website called AirBNB to attract his guests and in doing so was making a few bucks doing so.

But his neighbors would have no part of the homeowner’s profit-making venue and appealed to the Marion City Council and Mayor Frank Foglemen to make the homeowner cease and decist.

Admittedly, the practice of renting out bedrooms to travelers is common particularly in larger cities such as neighboring Memphis where there are scores of listing on the AirBNB site.

But not to be Marion, so says a new ordinance that was recently passed by all city council members and endorsed by Fogleman which puts an end to this controversy once and for all. Anyone wanting a room in Marion must patronize one of the commercial lodging establishments such as those in Angelo’s Grove where there are three modern and attractive motels alone with some popular eating establishments, such as Colton’s or the nearby Shake Shack.

Despite the homeowners repeated attempt to cite the law and the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that AirBNBs are not considered a commercial use of the property city leaders are saying they want no part of such revenue producing activity going on in neighborhoods.

The argument was also made that 30 percent of homes in Marion are rentals and 25 percent of the homes in River Trace are also rentals but those statistics had no impact on the final decision to disallow so-called “Bed and Breakfast” rentals in residential neighborhoods.

Still, we’re told, there are currently seven homes in Marion listed for rent on AirBNB which means when this ordinance goes into effect those homeowners will have to pull the plug on their rental activity or face the wrath of Marion City Attorney James “Jimbo” Hale.

The defiant homeowner now says he’ll pull his ad on AirBNB but says he still plans to rent the mother-inlaw flat he has on his property and says he plans to still make a profit.

We can certainly understand how property owners in certain sections of Marion consider the practice of renting out bedrooms as a nuisance particularly in small cities such as Marion and feel the actions taken by the city council were a reflection of how their constituents feel about such a practice.

Now if this individual homeowner has such a passion for the rental business maybe he should purchase or build an apartment complex or even better than that construct a new motel where he could make considerably more money than simply renting out a bedroom in his home.

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