In Lago Mar, Airbnb ‘pool house getaway’ results in ‘urgent’ petition, neighbor sleeping away from home

A screengrab of the “pool house getaway” listed on Airbnb Friday, September 22, 2017.

VIRGINIA BEACH — A local civic league has launched a petition against one of their own residents, alleging that the homeowner is using a portion of his property as an Airbnb rental.

According to the league’s online petition, the homeowner is renting out his personal pool house in Lago Mar as a vacation rental. The petition says the homeowner has also requested a zoning appeal through the city to establish the pool house as its own separate dwelling.

As of Friday afternoon, it was unclear whether a public zoning hearing for the appeal was still scheduled for next month.

Southside Daily located three separate Airbnb rental listings — ranging from $49 for a single room in the pool house to $250 for the rental of the entire pool house — that match the home listed on the petition.

“Now you’re in for a treat,” the listing for the entire pool house rental reads. “This pool house sits in front of a 50′ pool, built in hot tub and has a dry sauna AND a steam shower inside. There’s nothing else like it. Any season, this is the ultimate place in Virginia Beach.”

Listing photos show an indoor bar, though a disclaimer states that “any consumption or removal of any alcohol is prohibited.” (Screengrab from Airbnb)

Photos in the listing show off other amenities, such as an indoor bar stocked with dozens of liquor bottles, casino-style games and an outdoor cooking space complete with mini-fridge.

The listing said the pool house accommodates up to eight people for the advertised rate, but up to four more people could stay for an additional $10 per night.

If renters want to stay on a Friday or Saturday, rates increase to $300 per night.

For a three-night stay in June 2018, renters would pay just over $1,200. (Screengrab from Airbnb)

A weekend in the prime of summer? According to the calendar on the rental site, three days in June 2018 would cost roughly $1,200.

Six reviews have been left for the property, which has a five-star rating.

“This host was incredibly accommodating and provides literally everything you need. Amazing, relaxing environment. A beautiful house on a beautiful street,” one reviewer wrote.

But some neighbors on the “beautiful street” aren’t happy.

One neighbor even said that because of the noise and increased weekend traffic, her family has opted to spend their weekends elsewhere.

“There’s just too much noise – lots of people outside and partying,” the neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said. “In our neighborhood, there’s so many good families and lots of kids. I don’t know why he’s doing this.”

Comments left on the online petition, which expressed concerns over the “negative impact already occurring in the neighborhood, including increased traffic, speeding, event parties and potential safety concerns to our neighbors,” were similar.

“I am a 13 year resident on Vadito Way and a member of the Lago Mar Civic League. I oppose the appeal and variance request,” one commenter wrote.

Another, seemingly from another resident, read, “This is unacceptable for a quiet neighborhood like ours.”

Jack Drescher, the chair of a short-term rental ad hoc committee created by the city last year, said that though some neighbors are unhappy, the homeowner is likely within his rights to rent the pool house. City legislation to govern short-term rentals such as this one has yet to be written.

“In order to control the virtual platform type of rental, the city could not even enact any sort of restrictions, licensing requirements, et cetera, until the state approved it,” Drescher said.

While then rental might be legal now, Drescher said that will likely change this year.

A comment on the petition, which appears to have been made by the homeowner himself on Thursday, said despite the petition’s claims, he hadn’t received any negative comments or pushback from neighbors and his pool house rental was not a nuisance to the community.

He also said his property wasn’t the only nearby rental.

“There’s a full house and a room within walking distance as well,” the comment reads. “If anyone is brave enough to ask questions and discuss this like adults, the pool house is vacant, come over for a drink. We’ll only charge you an hourly rate.”

As of publication, 147 people had signed the league’s petition.

Requests for comment from the homeowner and the city’s zoning department were unanswered by the time of publication.

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Amy Poulter has lived in more than a dozen cities – including New York, San Antonio, Austin, Orlando and Jersey City – but she was born right here in the Southside. Amy graduated from Old Dominion University and worked for The Virginian-Pilot and Princess Anne Independent News before joining Southside Daily. Before working as a multimedia journalist, she was a professional chef and musician. In her free time, Amy enjoys listening to music, reading, spending time at the beach and chasing her two pups around the park.