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City Council trying to resolve short-term home rental issue and hearing briefings on cannabis oil la

Two items on Virginia Beach City Council's Tuesday, July 3, agenda are about the controversial issue of citywide, short-term rentals in Virginia Beach.

First, during its informal session, City Council members will continue its discussion from its June 26 workshop about how to regulate them.

The second item, on council's formal agenda, is an ordinance City Council plans to deny, according to city attorney, Mark Stiles. Deferred from its June 5, 2018, agenda, it asks City Council to consider amendments and additions to a city zoning ordinance that address short-term rental regulations.

Council's goal is to resolve the ongoing community quality of life issue sooner rather than let it drag on.

Resort homes, and other homes in residential neighborhoods across the city, are rented out to the public for various reasons, including weddings, special events and party houses, usually without mishap or concern.

Sometimes, however, disturbances and violence related to the rentals happens, requiring police and property owners to get involved occur and the city is trying to better manage how and where rentals are available and by what health, occupancy and public safety regulations they must abide.

“We have been wrestling with the issue for more than two years because it is an especially complex set of circumstances for Virginia Beach,” said Mayor Louis Jones. “After reviewing the research, listening to citizens, evaluating legislation the General Assembly recently passed, considering several alternative ordinances and surveying members of the council on options, we are finally making progress toward determining what regulations would be most appropriate for Virginia Beach.”

Resort homes like these, and other homes in residential neighborhoods across the city, are often rented out to the public for various reasons, including serving as weddings, special events and party houses. The city is trying to better manage how and where they're available and by what regulations they must abide. (Courtesy photo.)

In 2017, the council referred three alternative ordinances regulating short-term rentals to the city's Planning Commission for review and recommendations, said Stiles. The commission developed a fourth alternative it presented to the City Council for its consideration on March 6, 2018, and a final vote was scheduled for March 20.

City Council deferred action on those alternatives to allow additional input.

“The July 3 formal agenda item is really a procedural vote, we need to reject the other proposed ordinances so we can continue working on an entirely new draft,” said Vice Mayor Jim Wood. “That does not mean the prior work and input was wasted. In fact, the new ordinance we began outlining during our June 26 workshop builds on all of the research, input and recommendations we have received from residents and members of the Planning Commission.”

While the practice of homeowners offering residential units for short-term rentals through online platforms like Airbnb and Homeaway is widespread, there is no provision in the City Code that actually allows it, said Stiles.

"The City Council is addressing specific elements that focus on regulating the short-term rental industry in Virginia Beach," said Stiles. "It is an especially complex issue that requires addressing everything from personal property rights, individuals' rights to private enjoyment of their properties and safety concerns to taxation, City Code and City Zoning Ordinance enforcement and permitting.

"Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed a bill that prevents the city from requiring special-use permits for rentals in Sandbridge, which left the question open for what to do in the rest of the city," continued Stiles. "Council is working toward having a draft ordinance later this summer."

Also on Tuesday, City Council is set to hear briefings on cannabis oil legislation and related economic development opportunities and Ashville Park's cost-participation agreement.

#VirginiaBeachCityCouncil #ShortTermHomeRentals #VirginiaBeachMayorLouisJones #ViceMayorJimWood #CityAttorneyMarkStiles #Cannibisoil #AshvillePark

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