Event houses and Airbnb
The Town Manager has raised a couple of issues which seem to have come to his attention through conferences and articles rather than concerns from COWs. It is good to anticipate and have regulations but any regulation must carefully avoid intruding on a COWs right to enjoy their own property. It must focus on what the real problem is. He is has recommended looking at regulating “Event Houses”.
Any regulation of “event houses” should focus eliminating a commercial enterprise and not limiting property owners from holding events. Woodside has been home to events since long before it’s incorporation. People raise money, raise awareness and give back to the community with parties and events. We have noise regulations and parking regulations which are aimed at protecting neighbors. These non-commercial events or even occasional “commercial” events such as tupperware parties or garage sales should not be subject to new regulations. If there are true “event” houses which are not events sponsored by the residents but a pure commercial any one can have an event for a price, there is a need to protect the neighborhood from am unreasonable on-going disturbance. Only the pure commercial use needs to be concerning. It seems that current laws limiting commercial use in residential districts should be sufficient regulation.
Likewise what is the legitimate concern with Airbnb? House trading for a vacation has never been a problem. What are the concerns raised by Airbnb that need to be addressed? Again, it would be a problem if a series of short term renters were regularly living in a home with no stable resident. Again, that seems to us to have converted residence into a clearly commercial use. But if you only want to off-set the cost of a vacation and use Airbnb rather than pay a house sitter, what is the harm?
It seems to us that there are more serious issues such as fixing the planning process which the Town Manager and staff should be spending their time fixing instead of regulating event houses or Airbnb.