James City County Planning Commission opposes another short-term rental proposal – Daily Press

JAMES CITY — James City County has tightened its oversight of short-term vacation rentals in its 2045 Comprehensive Plan, but the county continues to review applications that don’t meet the new criteria. Earlier this month the commission recommended the denial of a tourist home on Hicks Island Road.

Stuart Evans of Evans Construction Inc. has applied for a special use permit to use a four-bedroom house as a tourist residence.

Lead planner Terry Costello said county staff could not recommend the application for approval because it did not conform to the full plan.

The overall plan states that short-term rentals should be located on major roads. The Hicks Island Road property is on a private road. Costello said the property also did not comply with the requirement that rental homes be located at the edge or corner of existing flat housing estates.

Costello pointed to some favorable factors such as adequate off-street parking and that the plaintiff would obtain the proper licenses and inspections. The plan also states that owners must live on the property during the tenancy. The report to the commission indicated that the owner lives on a neighboring property.

“We have struggled with short-term rentals for years. We eventually found some performance standards that we thought were essential to protect some of the neighbors, and this app fails to meet two of them,” Commissioner Richard Krapf said.

The commission voted 5 to 1 to recommend denial of the permit to the James City County Board of Supervisors.

In 2018, council voted unanimously against proposed zoning changes to allow short-term rentals. Landlords who wish to operate an Airbnb or other rental must appear before the planning commission and the supervisors.

In January, the council denied approval for a Florida resident who wanted to hire a caretaker so he could rent two bedrooms of a property off Jamestown Road through Airbnb. The council also denied a special use permit for an Airbnb rental on Neck-O-Land Road in a rural residential area located between two other Airbnb rentals but not on a corner lot. The owner lived in James City County but not in the house.

During discussions leading up to the adoption of the 2045 comprehensive plan, supervisors and members of the planning commission agreed to allow short-term rentals on predominantly rural land to ensure that they do not compete with the county’s hotel and motel industries.

The comprehensive plan says the county should “continue to carefully consider the impacts these uses may have on a community’s quality of life.” Short-term rentals in residential areas “should serve to complement the residential character of the area rather than alter its nature”.

David Macaulay, [email protected]

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