Virginia Beach to submit short-term rental recommendations to General Assembly

Virginia Beach city council passed a resolution requesting the General Assembly utilize its Airbnb ad-hoc committee's recommendations next year. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)
Virginia Beach city council passed a resolution requesting the General Assembly utilize its Airbnb ad-hoc committee’s recommendations next year. (Justin Belichis/Southside Daily)

Virginia Beach residents involved in short-term rentals may face heavier oversight created by the city’s short term lodging ad-hoc committee.

In a unanimous vote, the city will request the General Assembly consider the recommendations in its 2017 session for legislation dealing with the online home-sharing economy.

Virginia Beach City Attorney Mark Stiles broke them down to a crowded city council chambers before the vote.

The recommendations call for local short-term rental regulation, taxes to be remitted to a locality to be audited, all persons engaged should have appropriate insurance coverage for commercial activity and that the General Assembly grant local government the authority to publicize health and safety requirements.

Stiles said there could be more to come. An administrative permit and a registration requirement would be subject to ordinances that haven’t been drafted. If they are, there would another chance for public comment and they would have to go through the planning commission.

Most people in the crowd appeared to represent the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach. Among them was Jim Reeve, a Sandbridge homeowner, business owner and president of the Sandbridge Beach Business Association. Reeve said the recommendations relating to the city ordinances are flawed.

Reeve said the call for a permit process doesn’t get into what the parameters would be, who would administer it or the ability for an angry neighbor to call for permit revocation.

“Why must we pay for monitoring when there are existing city codes that could be applied today to solve this issue?” Reeve said.

Parking, music level and homeowner accountability were some issues raised by advocates for the resolution. One woman said houses in her neighborhood are about 30 feet apart and that noise from parties held in short-term rentals are getting out of hand.

“A small wedding on the beach is not an issue, but the large, noisy, rowdy parties that are a byproduct of the commercial use of these houses is,” she said. “Right now the neighbors who are disturbed by a party, celebration or event, there is no one to call but the police.”

Every member of council voted to pass resolution and some explained why after the voting board lit up, including councilmember Barbara Henley.

“This has been an issue that has terribly divided this community,” Henley said. “What we’re doing tonight is addressing our opportunity to make some comments to the General Assembly.”

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