STR Update: a cliffhanger!

At the Planning Commission hearing on March 10, 2021, the following ordinance changes regarding Short Term Rentals in the city of Virginia Beach were approved. (Sandbridge was excluded except for one safety measure).

Two overlay districts with limitations were created: East Shore Drive was approved as an overlay district. STRs would be allowed with a Conditional Use Permit. The number of STRs was capped at a 11.5% which is the current number relative to overall number of housing units. The overlay district was reduced to the area north of Shore Drive. The North End (including the Holly streets) was also approved as an overlay district with the same regulations as for East Shore Dr: CUP required and number capped.

The Oceanfront Overlay district was also approved but with STRs allowed by right.

The vote about whether to allow STRs in the remaining areas of the city was close: 4-3 of those present voting to prohibit STRs outside of the 3 overlay districts.

The meeting was very long-over 5 hours- as the commission heard from many residents pro and con. The spokesperson for the STR Association argued for increased enforcement of STR regulations and registration with inspections rather than limiting STRs to overlay districts. In the commission’s discussion that followed the comment period, the members showed that they clearly paid close attention to the residents’ views and the impact on those communities. But it was a very close vote on allowing STRs outside the overlays which would have affected Ocean Park. The members mentioned frequently that the numbers of people speaking out was persuasive to them. Showing up makes a difference!

The City Council will vote on the recommendations of the Planning Commission.

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