WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
A house nestled in the woods off of Brick Bat Road has secured the necessary permits to operate as a tourist home, the first zoning designation of its kind in more than a decade in James City County.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved two applications April 12 pertaining to the home.
The first was a request to withdraw the home, located at 3703 Brick Bat Road, from the Gordon Creek Agricultural and Forestal District. The second was a special use permit request that will allow the home’s owner to rent out rooms to tourists.
Before he cast his vote, Vice Chairman John McGlennon (Roberts) said he felt the purpose of the home would be consistent with the county’s goals of preserving rural lands while also attracting visitors to rural attractions.
“The provision of the tourist home seems like something that will not provide for intensive development of that land, but rather an opportunity for people to take advantage of the rural setting,” McGlennon said.
Jason Purse, assistant county administrator, said residents can operate their homes as vacation rental properties if the use is allowed in the home’s zoning area and if the homeowner receives a special use permit for the enterprise.
A homeowner who wishes to rent out up to five rooms without living in the dwelling himself would seek a “tourist home” use. A homeowner who wants to rent out up to three rooms while living in the residence, comparable to operating a bed & breakfast, would seek permission for a “rental of rooms” use.
Purse said this is the first vacation rental to be approved in James City County since a handful of bed & breakfast homes were approved in the 1990s.
The Virginia General Assembly considered legislation earlier this year that would have limited localities’ ability to regulate homeowners who rent out rooms to tourists. Legislators will take up the item next year, said County Attorney Adam Kinsman, but first a work group will convene to review the item. It must issue any recommendations by Dec. 1.