Loud crowds and gunfire: Downsides of short-term rentals play out at party in north end of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — In the north end of Virginia Beach, there’s a group of residents who want peace and tranquility.

And those residents did not get that this past weekend. 

There is no peace and tranquility to be found in a video that’s now circulating on social media. The video shows a party that went well into the morning in a Virginia Beach neighborhood. The sounds of eight gunshots were also caught on video.

The party was held this past weekend at what neighbors say is a short-term rental along Holly Road between 56th and 58th streets. The video of it was recorded by resident Chris Lamy.

“I could hear what was going on they were charging admission and people from all over were there.  Police were there, but did not shut it down,” Lamy said.

We asked Lamy whether he was surprised police did not shut down the party and if he thought police were doing enough.

“I think they were. I think they were doing what they could. Their hands are kind of tied in today’s climate. They had a tentative approach to people, and they didn’t seem to want to get aggressive. I think they were doing as much as they could,” Lamy said.

Neighbor Debra Brady lives up the street on Holly Road.

“Friday night, the cars were constantly circling and all these blocks of hordes of  people, and they were loud, real loud,” Brady said.

The short-term rental house at 5508 Holly Road is apparently unregistered.  

We found the business card of the zoning inspector supervisor. We called him, but he wouldn’t talk to us. 

North Virginia Beach Civic League President John David told us that kind of commotion at that hour is unacceptable.

“It is absolutely disturbing. It is disturbing the peace and we have noise ordinances in Virginia Beach, and you can’t be doing that at 2:30 a.m. in the morning,” David said. 

Police responded to the report of gunshots in the area, but there were no confirmed injuries.

Picture of damage from gunfire on a car roof, which stems from a shooting on 56th Street on March 5, 2021. (Photo courtesy: WAVY viewer)

When Brady approached the owner of the short-term rental Sunday morning, he said he hadn’t heard about anything until the police called him. She did not get his name, and 10 On Your Side has been unable to locate him. Brady said the owner apologized but did not go as far as assuring her it would not happen again.

Short-term rental regulation has been a controversial issue since 2015 in Virginia Beach. City Council has worked to find ways to regulate the industry, while some homeowners have complained short-term rentals create a consistent flow of disruption as strangers come and go.

While property owners are required to register their short-term rentals, some could still be operating outside of the rules. Last September, City Council voted to change the penalty for a short-term rental violation to $200 for the first offense and $500 for any additional violation.

This weekend, David and his neighbors got a harsh reality check about what happens when short-term rentals get out of control, and police don’t or can’t shut down the party. 

“We need to control short-term rentals because right now it’s out of control,” he said. “This was an unregistered short-term rental that basically ruined these people’s weekend. Members of the Planning Commission and City Council need to realize this.” 

Evans Perros has lived in this neighborhood 30 years. 

“We welcome everyone here, but we don’t welcome mayhem, chaos, and disregard for properties and safety of human lives,” Perros said. 

Coincidentally, the Virginia Beach Planning Commission will take up the short-term rental issue Wednesday. 

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