‘Business Report’ Publisher: Dealing with change and neighborhoods  

    You may have read about the battle brewing in many cities, including here in Spanish Town, over regulations relating to Airbnb. While the concept of folks renting out a room—or even their entire home—to short-term visitors continues to grow across the world, it’s brought unintended consequences.

    As Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister notes in his new column, while some Spanish Town residents have been renting out a room or two in their home, investors are now looking to buy houses in the residentially zoned historic neighborhood—with no intention of living there—and effectively creating a “small hotel.” This would seem to be a purely commercial enterprise requiring commercial zoning.

    Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker, the representative for Spanish Town, says she plans to have multiple community meetings after several smaller private ones were held that certain residents were not invited to attend.

    But this isn’t just a Spanish Town problem, McCollister says. Others like the mayor, Metro Council, real estate agents, homebuilders, the Growth Coalition and neighborhood associations should all have input, too. Airbnb is here to stay—just like Uber and Lyft—and McCollister says such changes will continue to affect every area of our lives and businesses, requiring us to revisit the old rules and adjust them for what works for today, even if that means new regulations.  

    Also in his new column, McCollister discusses how he feels Gov. John Bel Edwards missed the mark at a recent gubernatorial forum.

    At one point, there was a lighting round with questions and quick replies. One question was “If you could change one thing in the Louisiana Constitution, what would it be?”

    U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham said, “Article 7. Revenue and finance,” which deals with our tax structure, dedications, exemptions and such.)

    Edwards said: “Change the minimum wage to $9.”

    “Does the governor truly believe that is the most important change we can make to our constitution to improve our future and bottom-of-the-barrel state ranking?” McCollister asks.

    Read McCollister’s full column, in which he breaks down the issue with Edwards’ push to raise the minimum wage and elaborates on the Airbnb debate. Send comments to editor@businessreport.com.

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