Concerned citizen John Turnblazer attended the LaFollette planning Commission meeting in regards to problems with Airbnb renters causing disturbances in his son’s neighborhood. His son Kyle Turnblazer was unable to attend the meeting due to work.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Airbnb rental properties and problems caused by renters and ATV riders was a hot topic at Thursday’s LaFollette Planning Commission and board of zoning appeals meeting. Planning Commission board members heard from several concerned citizens that live on or near Mohawk Lane in LaFollette regarding problems with renters at neighboring properties.

The board of zoning appeals was also supposed to vote on the issue of the three Airbnbs in the city but tabled the issue on the request of LaFollette Fire Chief Jimmy Pack, who has requested a full inspection on the three properties in question by the state fire marshal. Pack said he hopes to have the report by the commission’s next meeting and will be able to present it at that time.   

Complaints brought up by concerned citizens regarding renters included side by side riders partying late at night, riding on roads that are not sanctioned, as well as parking trucks and trailers in yards not belonging to the rental properties. Several mentions were made regarding renters urinating in the driveway of the properties, in possible view of the neighbor’s children. 

John and Glenda Turnblazer spoke on behalf of their son Kyle who could not attend due to work. “Don’t let people who are only concerned about money ruin the neighborhoods of LaFollette. I understand it’s big business, but everyone has a right to live in peace,”  John Turnblazer said.

Airbnb owner Stephen Huett (standing) attended Thursday evening’s LaFollette planning Commission meeting in regards to issues with Airbnb renters and ATV riders causing problems on Mohawk Lane. Huett and two others are awaiting the planning Commissions vote on licensure of their Airbnb rental properties.

According to several citizens at the meeting, Mohawk Lane”used to be a quiet dead end street, but isn’t anymore.”

“Tourism is good for our town, but it doesn’t belong in our residential neighborhoods,” Glenda Turnblazer said. One citizen spoke up and asked the planning commission to “consider the people who live here” and not those who “have just moved in,” saying she had begun to “dread coming home from work to the chaos” and she didn’t like “not knowing who her neighbor would be.”

Stephen Huett, owner of the Airbnb on Mohawk Lane, addressed the planning commission. Huett said that he “had cameras on the place,” and that they provided all of their guests with copies of the rules regarding the rental property.  “We don’t want to cause problems, we want to work this out. If guests break the rules, we don’t have them back to stay,” Huett said, adding that another access route other Mohawk Lane had been designated which should help with the traffic. 

“We don’t want to upset the neighborhood; we love it here, and we’re not here for the money. I don’t want anyone to feel unsafe. I’m here trying to make it work,” Huett said.

City Administrator Stan Foust said he had received multiple complaints about riders and the Airbnb rental properties. “The city designated these streets to be approved for the riders(ATV); the council can take it away, too. They need to be obeying the laws of the city,” Foust said. 

The issue was tabled until the inspection and report is completed by the state fire marshal’s office. Rental property locations that have been requested to be inspected include a property at 523 N. 9th Street, the property at 113 Mohawk Lane and a property at 106 Blue Drive. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/28/2021-6AM)