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Protect VB Neighborhoods
City Council Developing Consensus on Regulations for Short-Term Rental Properties
There are two items on the Tuesday, July 3 City Council agenda related to the issue of short-term rentals.
During the informal session, City Council will continue the discussion from the June 26 workshop about how to regulate short-term rentals. The second item, on the formal agenda, is an ordinance City Council plans to deny. It was deferred from the June 5, 2018 agenda and asks City Council to consider amendments and additions to the City Zoning Ordinance that address short term rental regulations.
“We have been wrestling with the issue for more than two years because it is an especially complex set of circumstances for Virginia Beach,” said Mayor Louis Jones.
“After reviewing the research, listening to citizens, evaluating legislation the General Assembly recently passed, considering several alternative ordinances and surveying members of the Council on options, we are finally making progress toward determining what regulations would be most appropriate for Virginia Beach.”
In 2017, the Council referred three alternative ordinances regulating short-term rentals to the Planning Commission for review and recommendations. The Commission developed a fourth alternative it presented to the City Council for its consideration on March 6, 2018, and a final vote was scheduled for March 20. City Council deferred action on those alternatives to allow additional input.
“The July 3 formal agenda item is really a procedural vote—we need to reject the other proposed ordinances so we can continue working on an entirely new draft,” said Vice Mayor Jim Wood. “That does not mean the prior work and input was wasted. In fact, the new ordinance we began outlining during our June 26 workshop builds on all of the research, input and recommendations we have received from residents and members of the Planning Commission.”
While the practice of homeowners offering residential units for short-term rentals through online platforms like Airbnb and Homeaway is widespread, there is no provision in the City Code that actually allows it. The City Council is addressing specific elements that focus on regulating the short-term rental industry in Virginia Beach. It is an especially complex issue that requires addressing everything from personal property rights, individuals' rights to private enjoyment of their properties and safety concerns to taxation, City Code and City Zoning Ordinance enforcement and permitting. Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed a bill that prevents the City from requiring special-use permits for rentals in Sandbridge, which left the question open for what to do in the rest of the city.
Council is working toward having a draft ordinance later this summer.
‘Event houses’ too much
When I read “For good of the city, support Sandbridge” (letter, July 24), I had to laugh. I lived in Sandbridge from 1971 until 2001. My children were raised in the community. I was a founding member of Friends of Back Bay and served on the board of the Sandbridge Civic League for 14 years, with two terms as president.
I fought hard against changing from septic tanks because I understood that it would alter the area and hurt the environment. I also was concerned about condo zoning. I didn’t realize that the event houses would be built and would become such a detriment to the community.
I own commercial property in Sandbridge, and I still think the quality of life is more important than what appears to me to be corporate greed.
The letter-writer is not listed in the amazing Sandbridge Directory, which leads me to wonder whether he even lives there. If he doesn’t, he isn’t affected by the event houses. In his letter, he mentions “proper oversight” of Sandbridge. But what entity will be charged with “proper oversight” of the event houses?
Sheila Braithwaite Virginia Beach
Oversight for Short Term Rentals in Virginia Beach
As a resident of Sandbridge for over 30 years and Co-Chair for Protect Virginia Beach Neighborhoods, I am pleased to see that the business community of Sandbridge (For the Good of the City, Support Sandbridge, July 24)
is finally realizing the concerns residents have been expressing for the last two years attending public meetings held by the City Council and Ad Hoc Committees that more oversight is needed to control these short term rental
properties not only in Sandbridge but throughout our residential neighborhoods.
The problems and complaints citizens are experiencing in Sandbridge are also being voiced in neighboring communities such as the North End, Croatan, Chicks Beach, and neighborhoods that cater to short term rentals.
The notion that the real estate offices in Sandbridge are quick to respond in most cases may be true however after normal business hours the only recourse is to call the police (non-emergency number) when most of the problems
occur such as noise, fireworks, parking, and other party related issues.
Residential environments with no oversights impact the decisions potential buyers who want to live, retire, invest and vacation in these communities. Vacationers are already expressing that they will not be returning due to the
increase in noise and nightly fireworks and it is not the family environment they were accustomed too.
Sandbridge is no longer " secluded and quiet" as noted in advertisements however, City oversight of short term rentals will make our communities safer and will protect the property values in Sandbridge and other residential
Mary A. Girevendulis Virginia Beach