Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Virginia Beach commission recommends stricter rules for ‘event home’ rentals

UPDATE: Dates and times of the public hearings on the proposed rule changes have been updated below.

VIRGINIA BEACH – Stricter rules could be placed on the short-term rental of waterfront homes in the city.

A city-appointed commission drafted new guidelines for short-term rentals for events such as weddings and are now seeking residents’ input before the recommendations go to the City Council later this summer.

Concerns over the rentals include noise, parking problems and litter, said Tom Fraim, president of the Beaches and Waterways Commission.

Provisions of the draft guidelines include:

  • No property shall host more than two event functions within a year.
  • Outdoor portions of the event must end by 10 p.m.
  • The event must not exceed 100 people.
  • The designated person responsible must be present at all times.
  • The applicant must receive a city event permit, which includes a nonrefundable fee of $200.
  • The applicant must notify residents within 500 feet about the event.

The City Council in April requested the Beaches and Waterways Commission study the impact of house rentals on neighborhoods after residents told council members the number of short-term rentals seemed to be increasing, Fraim said. People have been using waterfront homes for week-long events, particularly weddings, and many of them are in the Sandbridge area, he said.

The City Council also requested the commission study and gather public input on Airbnb rentals. It has had one meeting on that issue and is continuing to seek input on it.

The commission on Thursday approved a draft ordinance for the event rentals and will share it with civic leagues and neighborhood leaders in the coming weeks. Councilman John Uhrin said house rental companies have so far been cooperative with residents and “pretty receptive to policing any issues that come up with neighbors.”

The commission will hold five public forums in July to collect feedback on the draft ordinance. The document describes the rentals as a business with the potential to overtake the residential atmosphere of a neighborhood.

“The rental of property for such purposes is a commercial use and, unless restricted, is incompatible with surrounding homes,” it says.

Residential and commercial activity must remain balanced so neighborhoods are not disrupted, it says.

Tentative locations and dates for the public forums are:

“We will hold public meetings, summarize what we hear and understand, and make appropriate comments to council,” Commissioner Kenneth Jobe said.

That public input is extremely valuable, he said.

“It’s a citizens’ committee, not an elected committee,” Jobe said. “Council needs input from citizens in order to proceed, so that’s what we’re providing for them.”

A draft ordinance on event home rentals, as approved by the city’s Beaches and Waterways Commission:

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