General Assembly looking at short term rentals again in two cities; one is Virginia Beach

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Could state law trump local law makers? The resort city has been trying to solve the problem of short term rentals for some time now.

The Virginia Beach City Council is considering a specific regulation plan. But work being done in Richmond could alter those plans.

10 years ago, it was the view off a back porch and a peaceful feeling in the air that attracted Donna Watson to Sandbridge.

“We wanted to come back, live down here and raise our children here,” she said. “I really did love it when we first moved here. As time goes by it becomes less and less desirable.”

So what changed?

Watson said it’s the number of event houses combined with the short term rental services, like Airbnb, that have taken away her peace.

“In the summer, it just became really difficult to get around,” she said. “It’s noisy, lots of parties, lots of noise, and lots of traffic.”

For the last two years the City of Virginia Beach has looked at cracking down on short term rentals. This month the city planning commission released their recommendations for the rules.

At the same time in Richmond, the General Assembly has a bill aimed at short term rental rules in the city of Lexington, Virginia.

However, this week when the bill crossed to the Senate, at the bottom of the bill sat an amendment that added one other city: Virginia Beach.

“Well they’re taking away the power from the locality,” Watson said.

If the bill is passed, Virginia Beach would not be able to require that short term rentals get permits, no matter what regulations the city passes. Watson can’t believe it.

“The state is rescinding the authority for cities to control what goes on in its own locality,” she said. “I don’t think the state should be doing that.”

10 On Your Side talked to folks who use their home to do short term rentals. Several of those folks said they maintain a safe rental property and keep watch. Those people did not want to see added regulation to a business that gives them another source of income. They were in favor of the bill.

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