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Share on: Airbnb hosts face challenge with City Commission

It's important to let our city commissioners know that we support home-sharing made possible with sites like Airbnb. Learn how you can let our local officials know what you think about their proposed ordinance to make it illegal to advertise home-sharing without a business license and permit.
Shawn Avery has been participating in Airbnb but has curbed his participation while waiting for City decisions.

Shawn Avery has been participating in Airbnb but has curbed his participation while waiting for City decisions. /Shawn Avery

On October 22, the City Commission had planned to vote on a proposed ordinance change that would make it illegal to advertise home-sharing on sites like Airbnb without a costly business license and permit. Following an outpouring of community opposition, the City Commission postponed the vote and scheduled a public hearing for November 12 to hear more from the citizens of Grand Rapids about this issue.

Home-sharing is a growing trend in the emerging sharing economy movement. What is that movement all about? Check out this 90 second video to learn more. Home-sharing is beneficial to the community and local economy because it supports the entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit that Grand Rapids was built on. Home-sharing provides alternative, affordable and safe accommodations for visitors who spend money at restaurants, breweries, attractions and cultural events in our community; visitors that may one day choose to make Grand Rapids their destination of choice to live, work, play and invest.

My husband Brian and I launched this petition in partnership with Peers, a grassroots organization on the forefront of the sharing economy movement. Our goal is to educate the public on the proposed ordinance change and provide a vehicle for Grand Rapids citizens to demonstrate their support for home-sharing. At the hearing on November 12, we will deliver the petition and ask the City Commission to delay the vote and appoint a study committee of representative stakeholders to create a set of proactive policy recommendations that make Grand Rapids a model city for home-sharing and hospitality.

What happens in Grand Rapids will influence other communities across the state of Michigan and beyond that may be asking these same questions. Signing this petition of support for Grand Rapids will position our community to become a leader in the global sharing economy movement.

Sign the petition and demonstrate your support for home-sharing.

In addition to signing the petition, there are other ways you can get involved:

  • Write a letter of support and send it to each of the Grand Rapids City Commissioners no later than Monday, November 11. If you would like us to send you a sample letter of support please email us at [email protected]. You can find email addresses for Grand Rapids City Commissioners at this link.
  • Attend the public hearing and tell City Commissioners you support Airbnb and the sharing economy in Grand Rapids. Mark your calendars for Tuesday November 12, 7 p.m. at City Hall, located at 300 Monroe Ave. NW, 9th Floor, City Commission Chambers. Citizens will have an opportunity to provide up to three minutes of public comment. Free parking is available in the lot with a validated ticket. 

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