News Flash • City Council approves short-term rental plan

June 13, 2024 — The City Council on Wednesday evening voted unanimously to implement a plan that would divide the city into zoned districts in which no more than 1 percent of residences could be operated as short-term rentals.

 The proposal, which had been previously approved by the Planning Commission, creates a structure that allows property owners to rent on such platforms as Airbnb and Vrbo without disrupting the look and feel of the city’s neighborhoods.

 The plan requires that rental units must be at least 500 feet apart.  Residents who have existing businesses would be allowed to continue operating, even if that zone is over the 1% cap. Owners would have to submit a new application for approval by the end of the year. The process of gaining a permit will become streamlined and more efficient. Other requirements include sufficient off-street parking, fire safety controls, limits on the number of renters based on size, limits on events, business licenses, paying applicable taxes, and listing of a person responsible. Full details are available online at

 Zoning Administrator Allison Jackura gave a detailed explanation of how the zoning plan was developed, and dozens of residents offered thoughts and input. The council delayed implementation of the plan until Sept. 1 to allow for consideration of an amendment to reduce the 500-foot restriction to 300 feet.

 Several residents spoke to the council about the problem of speeding and traffic accidents at the intersection of Shell Road and Greenbriar Avenue. Public Works Director Jason Mitchell then explained that a traffic study had been conducted, and plans were being developed to address the issue with the addition of a four-way stop and with the possibility of increased fines for speeding in that area.

 At the start of the meeting, Mayor Donnie Tuck read a proclamation honoring Interim City Attorney Steven Bond, who is leaving that position to become a judge in Virginia’s 8th Judicial General District. The council approved the appointment of Cynthia Hudson to become the interim city attorney, effective June 17.

 The council, in accordance with the General Assembly’s recent amendment to Virginia Code Section 15.2-1414.6 (B), voted to increase the annual salaries of the mayor and council members. 

 In the 1 p.m. work session, the council heard a presentation from the Elizabeth Lake Estates Civic Association regarding the proposal to raise the property taxes in that district from 6 cents per $100 of assessed value to 10 cents in Fiscal Year 2025, which begins July 1. The proposal had been deferred last month so that the civic association could formally gain support of at least 65 percent of property owners, and at Wednesday afternoon’s meeting a representative of the association stated that 212 of the 318 residents (66.7 percent) supported the increased rate, which he said would help to fund some upcoming neighborhood projects. The tax rate was approved unanimously at the legislative session.

 The City Council’s next meeting will be on Wednesday, July 10.

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