City Council members will suggest candidates to study Airbnb rentals in Virginia Beach during a briefing today.
Last week, during a briefing by City officials on Airbnb and similar home rentals, Mayor Will Sessoms asked City Council to come up with the names of people who could assess rentals’ impact on the City. The individuals will serve on an Airbnb ad hoc committee, according to an agenda posted on the city’s web site before today’s meeting. Council will also discuss in the city manager’s briefing today what can be done to regulate Airbnb and other short-term rentals under current zoning laws, such as those that cover noise and parking.
One Councilmember, James Wood, believes the City should already be able to control some of these issues under existing laws.
“They (the City) caught people for renting out rooms – a long term one-year lease for someone to rent a room,” Wood said in a phone interview. “They’ve cracked down on that, I know that happened. It just seems to me it’s possible to do the same thing for Airbnb.”
Wood said he’s dealt with a number of issues related to home rentals during his time on Council. One particular instance he recalled was a Virginia Beach mother whose adult son stayed in a detached garage on her property. Neighbors complained about noise when the son played music for gatherings in the backyard, and were upset by the coming and going of guests, Wood said.
However, because the rental was to a family member, the City couldn’t intervene, Wood said.
As for the ad hoc committee, Robert Matthias, assistant to City Manager Dave Hansen, said in a phone interview he would assume the panel would function similarly to how the Beaches and Waterways Commission did when it addressed event home rentals. Last month, the Beaches and Waterways Commission sought public comment after approving a draft ordinance on event rentals; ultimately, that measure will go to City Council for approval.
Council will also discuss today what powers the City has to regulate the rentals under current zoning laws, Matthias said.
Later this month, in a hearing on Aug. 16, City Council is set to vote on a proposed ordinance that would require Virginia Beach residents who rent their homes on Airbnb and other home-rental sites to register with the City’s commissioner of the revenue and pay a transient occupancy tax (TOT).