Wednesday, October 4, 2023

City set to appoint three more to Airbnb ad hoc committee, sets meeting agendas

(Courtesy of
(Courtesy of

The City is set to appoint three additional members to its ad hoc committee studying the online home-sharing economy. The appointments are slated for Sept. 6.  

Robert Matthias, assistant to City Manager Dave Hansen, briefed City Council Tuesday on the next steps for the committee, including a four-week timeline for meetings and what they will cover. According to Matthias, the new members are:

•Edward A. Mullen, who currently serves on the General Assembly’s work group that is studying short-term rentals. He is a partner at Reed Smith in Richmond whose practice includes state administrative law and legislative matters, according to the firm’s website.

•Ira Agricola, a Virginia Beach representative of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

•Kevin Duffan, at-large member.

“It’s an aggressive schedule, but I think it’s doable,” Matthias said during the briefing. “We’re going to hopefully get a lot of work done, get a lot of public comment.”

He hopes for the ad hoc committee to provide Council with recommendations by the end of September, he said.

The committee’s first meeting is slated to be Sept. 7, according to a copy of Matthias’s presentation. The meeting will include: an explanation of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act/FOIA by City Attorney Mark Stiles; an overview of Airbnb by Matthias; a presentation by the Commissioner of the Revenue, Phil Kellam, about Airbnb’s fiscal impacts and Council’s recently adopted ordinance that requires people who rent their homes on online platforms to register with the City; and a briefing on existing zoning laws.

The second meeting, slated for Sept. 14, will include a public hearing where those interested in online home-sharing can voice their opinions. Those who can’t physically attend the meeting, or who prefer to comment online, will be able to do so via Virtual Town Hall, the presentation said. A webinar will also likely be hosted.

The third and final meeting is scheduled for Sept. 28.

“Hopefully, by this time our committee will be well informed on the issue and have a sense of the public’s reaction to the presence of Online Rental Platforms in Virginia Beach and the Commonwealth generally,” the presentation said.

The final meeting is set to include proposing a recommendation to Council about revising existing zoning ordinances; it would also provide a recommendation for the General Assembly’s work group on short-term rentals.

After the third meeting, Council would have a chance to hear final public comments during its formal session. Matthias expects the General Assembly’s work group to finish its recommendation by October. Matthias hopes the ad hoc committee’s recommendation will be available to inform the work group, which has a Dec. 1 deadline to submit an opinion to the General Assembly.

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