Is Raleigh's Airbnb kerfuffle turning into the new "Free Market" battlefield?

A business model in dire need of government regulation:

Like many cities, Raleigh is grappling with how to regulate Airbnb and companies like it. Unlike hotels and traditional bed and breakfasts, Airbnb is unregulated in most places. In Raleigh, Airbnb hosts don't collect or pay state or local sales tax, or the local hotel occupancy tax, which in Wake County is set at 6 percent. Airbnb rentals aren't required to get a business license or special-use permit. Nor do they have to submit to health and safety inspections. Hosts don't even have to tell their neighbors that they're renting rooms, though the information is publicly available on Airbnb's website.

Personally, I have no desire to spend the night in a stranger's house, and my one experience with a bonafide B&B was a little too personal, if you catch my drift. My door got knocked on like six times, and I was barely able to keep Evil Steve from yelling, "What now, for God's sake!" But that's just me. The above article is from 2 1/2 years ago, but the "task force" empaneled to solve this problem just recently hammered out some recommendations for a proposed ordinance. Pay close attention to who is co-chairing the group:

Raleigh City Council wants attorneys to review a task force's recommendations for regulating short-term home rentals, two years after deciding not to enforce a ban on them.

The Short-Term Residential Rental Task Force, launched in January, presented council with a list of recommendations Tuesday.

"If short-term rentals and the platforms that host them are going to be good neighbors in Raleigh, then the city has a duty to vet them and ensure that they are adding value to our neighborhoods," said task force co-chair Brent Woodcox.

Bolding mine, because neither Brent nor his pals at the Carolina Journal who have been promoting his "Share Raleigh" org are in the habit of being in favor of regulations, especially at the municipal level. But when there's money to be made, all bets are off...

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