CHCA approves Airbnb

by Carla Robinson
Posted 5/31/24

The CHCA board voted to recommend approval of a variance for 7929 Roanoke Street, with provisos, for a short-term rental property.

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CHCA approves Airbnb


On Thursday, the CHCA board voted to recommend approval of a variance for 7929 Roanoke Street, with provisos, for a short-term rental property. The property owner, Amy LaViers Minnick, has agreed to several restrictions: not to rent to more than four people at a time; 2) allow no more than 1 car; 3) Limit the overnight stay to no less than 2 nights; 4) that the variance would need to be renewed after one year.

The City of Philadelphia has recently changed its regulations for short-term rental accommodations, including online sites like Airbnb. As of Jan. 1, the city started enforcing a bill passed by the City Council in 2021 that requires property owners in most residential zoning districts to obtain a variance for their short-term rental units if they don't live onsite. Airbnbs where the property owner lives onsite are not subject to the law. The city defines short-term rental units as those that can be rented for less than 30 days at a time.

The board members who voted in favor said they did so because while LaViers Minnick does not live in the building, she does live around the corner, and her immediate neighbors support her request. 

"I say we take a chance with this and we'll learn a lot by it," said board member Ron Pete, who owns the Chestnut Hill Hotel.

The board voted against recommending an Airbnb variance for an earlier property at 7918 Ardleigh Street. The final decision on the Roanoke Street property belongs to the city's Zoning Board of Adjustments, which has not yet scheduled a hearing on the matter.

Larry McEwen, another CHCA board member, suggested that short-term rentals near business corridors may actually benefit local businesses. "If you're only staying a couple of nights, you're much less likely to stay inside and cook your own meals, so this could positively impact local restaurants," he said.

The changes to how the city regulates some Airbnbs have left many in Chestnut Hill questioning how the short-term rental service should be integrated into the community, if at all.

Some board members who voted against the approval, including Ross Pilling and Jeff Duncan, expressed concerns that a potential proliferation of Airbnbs could alter the fabric of what has historically been a residential community where people get to know their neighbors.