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Homeowners question HB 563, and should

To the editor:

When citizens of a community see their local neighborhood ordinances being overturned or subverted as is the case of Ohio HB 563, it’s imperative that they get answers.

The question is why is the neighborhood that did not want Airbnb businesses, that not only cause disturbances but can be a breeding ground for illegal activities, is being asked to change its authority. Under the bill, if passed, local counties, townships or municipal corporations cannot prohibit such short-term property rentals, which can be downright dangerous.

Not only have these types of businesses popped up all over the country, they have popped up locally in Wintersville, and some of the residents are questioning the co-authors of this bill before the state legislature as a possible conflict of interest, per letters to the editor on July 24 from Linda Freed of Wintersville (“Coming soon to your neighborhood”) and Debra Latynski of Hammondsville (“Let’s stop HB 563.”)

It seems that state representatives who have authored this bill, want to change the rules, but not in favor of the majority of the homeowners. And, they have asked the mayor and council to sign on by sending a letter to the representative in acceptance of the bill.

Under the bill, counties, townships or municipal corporations will be prohibited from adopting or enforcing rules on short-term occupancies. Home rule authority as specified in Article XVIII, Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution states that “… Municipalities shall have authority over self- governing.” If this bill passes, it will allow Airbnbs to operate in residential neighborhood zones overruling previous laws, regardless of what city or township ordinances have been drawn in the past.

It makes me wonder if the Americans for Prosperity (a Koch brothers-funded PAC) is behind “advising” state representatives and local councils to overturn their once-protected neighborhoods into a free-for-all in the name of freedom. AFP is all about less governmental restrictions, but at whose peril?

Perhaps the various elected officials, some who have accepted financial and in-kind service during election time, have dues to pay.

Is this one of those times and one of those issues? I hope not, but it does bring about the question why. And if it’s in the name of freedom and prosperity then, the questions become whose freedom and whose prosperity?

Kathy Antinone

Steubenville

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