South Tulsa residents block Airbnb homes from their neighborhood

By: Rick Maranon

Updated:

TULSA, Okla. - UPDATE:

The Tulsa City Council is holding two town hall meetings concerning short-term rental policy in the city.

  • Tuesday, October 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the LaFortune Community Center, 5202 S. Hudson Ave.
  • Wednesday, October 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Tulsa Community College Center for Creativity, 910 S. Boston Ave.

 

Quick facts:

  • Holliday Hills residents successfully pleaded their case to keep two south Tulsa homes from being used as Airbnbs.
  • Tulsa is currently working to lean how to best deal with the Airbnb requests across the city.
  • Requests have recently spiked in the area.

 

Residents in the Holliday Hills neighborhood near East 61st and South Yale in Tulsa have successfully pleaded their case to stop the popular app Airbnb from setting up inside two homes in their neighborhood.

Tuesday, a dozen residents with a petition signed by 137 of their neighbors argued that the two homes under consideration to legally be allowed to operate as a bed and breakfast commercial enterprise were "not in harmony" with their neighborhood.

The owner of the two properties up for consideration, Donald Walton, said he wanted to put two homes he owns on Airbnb for short-term rentals, appealing to people who need a place to stay long-term for more than two nights. He pointed to patients needing long-term care at nearby St. Francis hospital as an example of such tenants.

"This is what I want to do during my retirement," Walton told the board. "I've quit my consulting job and will focus on these properties as my main thing."

Walton said that since he owns the two homes, he should be allowed to do with his property as he wished, as long as it is within reason.

Walton had already applied for two taxing and permit documents from the city of Tulsa, but he also had to seek special exception zoning from the city before legally operating as a bed and breakfast.

Neighbors pleaded with the Tulsa Board of Adjustment, fearing increased traffic, lowered property values and uneasiness about a revolving door of strangers coming through their neighborhood.

Many who spoke out against the special zoning for Walton's two homes have lived in the neighborhood for decades and said the two houses in the middle of their neighborhood did not fit in with the long-term residential appeal of the neighborhood.

The board said that despite seeing a three-fold increase in bed and breakfast applications around Tulsa, they only approve less than half of them.

The board voted 3-1 against granting the Holliday Hills properties bed and breakfast status because of their location, and one board member had a problem with Walton living in Coweta, which is nowhere near the properties.

The two properties bed are located in the middle of the neighborhood and not near a major street or butting up against a non-commercial property.

Walton said he will lease out the homes long-term instead of short-term, and the city indicates that he must do so for more than 30 days.

The city of Tulsa is in the middle of a study on how bed and breakfast property and rezoning requests should be handled.

Right now, the board of adjustment is taking every rezoning request on a case-by-case basis, and they prefer that Airbnb houses and other similar applications be on the outskirts of the neighborhood or against a commercial property.


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