WIlliamsburg Planning commission to consider changes for Airbnb rentals

The Williamsburg Planning Commission will consider the approval of an alteration to the city’s zoning ordinance that would allow short-term rentals (like Airbnb) in owner-occupied, single-family homes at a work session Wednesday.

The new ordinance, if approved, would allow homeowners to rent out one bedroom in their homes for a maximum of 45 days per year. Homeowners in the city would have to obtain a business license from the Commissioner of Revenue, and a maximum of two adults would be allowed to stay in the rented room along with their children.

Read more about the proposal here

Currently, the city’s zoning ordinance allows short-term rentals, but limits them to hotels, motels, timeshares and bed and breakfasts. Rentals in these establishments are also limited to a maximum of 30 days.

At the April meeting, city attorney Christina Shelton said the proposed ordinance would provide additional tax revenue to the city and create a legal and regulated pathway for homeowners who are already renting rooms out through popular services such as Airbnb.

“Airbnb and those types of facilities are probably here to stay,” Shelton said.

Shelton cited possible downsides to the change could include the potential for increased noise and nuisance violations, neighborhood parking challenges and competition with existing commercial operations such as bed and breakfasts.

Vice Mayor Doug Pons said the lack of regulations on short-term home rentals may pose challenges for the owners of bed and breakfasts in the city.

“I struggle with what this means for competition to bed and breakfasts,” he said. “Why would we create or allow for this type of use with less restrictions than our current bed and breakfasts?

If the Planning Commission recommends the approval of the short-term rental expansion, the proposal would be sent back to City Council for final consideration.

Want to attend?
Where: Council Work Room 123, Stryker Center, 412 N. Boundary St. Williamsburg VA

When: 4 p.m. Wednesday

Psst, I’m a real estate agent.

This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads/ Richmond VA area and his expertise helping buyers and sellers in the local real estate market.

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