Virginia Beach leaders host public hearing to discuss proposed changes to short-term rentals ordinance

Posted at 11:20 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 23:44:40-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Planning leaders are taking a closer look at short-term rental regulations in the Old Beach section of the city.

“Some of the concerns we are hearing is preserving the neighborhood's character - the impact of the rentals on the people who live there year-round,” said Robert Tajan, the planning director with the city.

Some people who attended a public hearing Monday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center say they do not want short-term guests near their Oceanfront community.

"It's destroying the neighborhood,” said Barbara Messner.

Others say guests come and leave their trash on their properties.

Others who live in the area say they need to rent out available space they have in their homes.

“For the people who are willing to do it - to let people stay within their home - I mean, if they have to do something like that, they really need the money,” said Michelle Shean.

Shean says she needs the extra money to help pay her property taxes that keep increasing.

Below are some of the proposed changes in the ordinance that will be given to city council:

  • The density of short term rental uses in the immediate vicinity do not change the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood;
  • Parking is readily available to accommodate short term rental use. On-site parking solutions are visually appealing and environmentally responsible. If an off-site parking plan is submitted, the parking is reasonable and practical so as to be easily used by the guests of the short term rental;
  • The increased occupancy of short term rental use is compatible with the character of the residential neighborhood considering factors such as noise, trash and other negative consequences; and
  • The short term rentals are a needed resource in certain areas of the City and it is located in close proximity to venues, districts or areas that generate a high volume of people or visitors.
  • Civil Penalties for Violations
    • Assess a civil penalty for those operating STRs without approval or if in violation of 241.2 (operational requirements)
    • $200 penalty for initial summons
    • $500 penalty for each additional summons
    • Changes penalty from criminal to civil penalty

“The key is we are trying to find the right place to allow short-term rentals and to make it a more streamlined and enforceable process,” Tajan adds.

Lisa Eure owns a property management group in the area. She says during the coronavirus pandemic, some short-term rentals can be a safe alternative.

“Especially with this whole cover situation, they don’t feel comfortable staying in a hotel,” Eure adds.

Referred ordinances must have recommendation to city council by September 17.