A pause on Raleigh Airbnb

It is not often that one can say of a governing body that deadlocks on an issue long under discussion that delay is good. But it is in the case of whether to allow Raleigh residents to rent out their entire houses for short periods of time – through companies known as Airbnb and VRBO and more informal names – the council was right to put off a decision. (OK, there wasn’t much choice, given a 4-4 vote.)

It’s true that the Airbnb phenomenon is growing in popularity, but governing bodies such as the council need strong regulation in place. There are obvious safety concerns, and others regarding neighborhood traffic. And though some residents see it as a property rights issue, meaning their right to do as they wish with their own property, when someone rents a room or two or a whole house to a stranger, neighbors have their own rights.

The council needs to think about this. There is no hurry, and signs are that some members, including Mayor Nancy McFarlane, are willing to acknowledge they need study before they can decide to change or stay with their current position. The council may be criticized by some for its hesitation, but that’s unfair. In this case, delay is appropriate.