One Union City resident adamantly disagrees with the city banning short-term vacation rentals such as Airbnb, leading him to compare Mayor Brian Stack to dictator Fidel Castro at last night’s commissioners meeting.
The Union City Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution called “Peace and Good Order” back on December 15 of last year, banning short-term vacation rentals such as Airbnb and Homeaway.
In an undated letter sent to city residents and also posted on the city’s website in English and Spanish, Stack said the measure was passed “to preserve the quality of life and character of the existing single and multi-family residential neighborhoods in our city.”
Also stressing preserving “the ethnic and cultural diversity” of the city, he later states that short-term vacation rentals can be a safety hazard during emergencies since “first responders may have a difficult time locating people.”
The issue has largely been ignored until last night’s meeting, where the board was entertaining a resolution that would raise the fines for anyone who violated this ordinance.
Although Stack agreed to table the measure until next month in order to meet with a group of Airbnb supporters, one resident, Martin Vite, still had a lot to say on the matter.
The commissioners sat and listened until Vite compared Stack to Castro, where the mayor and state senator felt a line was crossed.
Continuing for several more minutes, Vite scoffed at the notion that short-term vacation rentals created an issue for first responders and questioned why the city discouraged people from visiting.
Public Affairs Commissioner Lucio Fernandez called Vite’s comments “overboard” and “premature” given that the latest measure was tabled and Stack agreed to privately meet with the Airbnb supporters.
Justin Mercado, a Union City Board of Education employee and Stack supporter, added that he felt Vite was only concerned about his own personal financial situation before Stack reiterated what he said in his letter.
Conversely, the neighboring City of Jersey City became the first New Jersey municipality to establish a 6 percent hotel tax for anyone who pays to share a home in the city, per NJ Biz.