The issue of how to permit short-term rentals, as well as how to create guidelines and regulations for neighborhood compatibility has been a thorn for Northampton, and Cape Charles.
The core issue is tourism, and how to get more tourists without destroying the lives of everyone else. Tourism, by leveraging the Transient Occupancy Tax can add substantial funds to the County’s coffers. More places to stay, that can accommodate more vacationers can have a positive effect on local business.
The other issue is just how the influx of tourists impacts residential neighborhoods—additional noise, parking problems, and increased traffic.
Without a county permit required, any residence can become a short-term rental. This can happen without giving notice to others in the neighborhood.
Moving forward, Northampton needs a well-defined ordinance that describes the Use.
With or without a required permit, the county needs a clear, enforceable definition for the Use, with designated limits on numbers of occupants and parking spaces, and noise and fireworks standards – with a consequence for non-compliance. Relying on complaints to the Sheriff ’s Department to enforce the county Noise Ordinance would not resolve an underlying zoning definition issue. Will this new Use encourage the disappearance of yearly rentals for the community’s workforce? – Mary Smith, CBES Shoreline Magazine
In Cape Charles, while the short-term rental market has been a boon for a few, it has also had the effect of turning it into a town where nobody lives. The town has succumbed to business interests that have basically turned that place into a home for transients.
The BoS is set to vote on this issue at the next Regular Meeting.