The Short-Term rental bill HB2271 has finally woken the Shore from its dogmatic slumber and exposed the Resident Evil which is the tourist/vacation rental industry (mafia). Can we for once just be honest and say it? The Real Estate Industry has exploited our culture, land, towns, and natural resources in the name of stuffing the pockets of so-called ‘real estate investors’. The bill itself is pretty meaningless and is just the government/industry’s way of saying the quiet part out loud. The damage has already been done.
But, let’s continue:
Reader submitted – This bill states that short-term rental properties that are managed by a Virginia realtor do not have to comply with the following short-term rental ordinance provisions:
1. a prohibition on short-term rentals
2. limitations on occupancy in a short-term rental property to less than what is allowed under the building code or a local zoning ordinance
3. a limitation on the number of days for which a short-term rental property can be rented
4. a requirement that an owner shall occupy the property as his primary residence for any number of days
5. a requirement for the installation of any type of remote monitoring device on the short-term rental property, including decibel, audio, or video
6. exterior or interior inspections of the short-term rental property pertaining to any items defined under the building code more frequently than 3 years, unless a complaint has been filed
7. required repairs, renovations, or updates to the structure of the short-term rental property that are greater than those required under the applicable building code
8. requirement for an owner to add additional or otherwise alter existing parking spaces for the short-term rental property.
*For provisions #3 and #4 there is the ability to create a written process whereby the Virginia realtor can apply to rent for more days and apply to rent for more days without satisfying the residency requirement.
There is an additional clause that states that any provision in an ordinance that relates to a short-term rental that restricts the number of days or requires the owner-occupied provision cannot be enforced for a short-term rental managed by a Virginia realtor if the ordinance was not passed prior to January 1, 2023.
While Shore residents are gathering pitchforks and torches over the perceived loss of “Local Control” and the misguided belief that something called a Comprehensive Plan has any real meaning, the sad part is that we did it to ourselves; we voted for people that openly, and behind closed doors, promoted this outcome.
This writer has been yelling into the abyss like an Edvard Munch painting for almost 20 years, warning that the tourist industry (which included real estate investment in vacation property) would be our undoing. Everything we cherish about this place will be raped, exploited, and sold to the highest bidder. Just look at the summer dystopian hellscape that is Cape Charles. But y’all be all addicted to the ToT tax–bring on the tourists and let’s spend that blood money.
Now that Cape Charles is overrun, the muck and filth are seeping into the County–so, now y’all are worried about it. The County folks always felt they were immune to the viruses that infect Cape Charles, never realizing that Cape Charles is the fireplace whence heat and light emanate into the darkness. The vacation/investment property virus has now infected the once-hidden gems of the County (hello Smith Beach).
Whether the bill passes or doesn’t pass doesn’t matter. What exactly are localities ever going to about someone buying property and then renting it out as a short-term vacation stay? Can you fairly say Joe Schmoe can do it over here, but Joe Blow, on a similar property over there, cannot? It’s not fair, and not how basic property owner rights work.
A reader-submitted comment reflects the local malaise:
My husband and I purchased our home on Monroe Avenue, in 2015.
At that time, there was only one long-term rental in our block, which includes 12 homes.
The quiet, residential nature of our block was so appealing, that even though we had never owned a historic home before, or lived in a town, we were smitten. In addition to the beautiful homes, we are blessed to have neighbors, both full-time and part-time, who know each other and look out for each other. Many people called this “Mayberry:” quiet, beautiful, and safe.
Then, about 4 years ago, some folks from Northern Virginia purchased one of the homes in our block. They invested about a year in sweat equity, to return the home to its original beauty.
Then they listed it on VRBO For $4,000 per week.
The first summer was not bad. Most of their guests were extended family units, who were quiet, respectful, and appreciative of our little paradise. I guess $4k is not a lot to pay for a week of paradise. But last summer, things were different. I caught a child, unsupervised, running his bike through my neighbor’s flower garden. Another group had 5 elementary school-age kids who were recklessly riding their bikes, jumping the curb into the street, without looking for traffic. Also unsupervised.
In September, a group of 9 women rented the house for about 4 days. Nearly all 9 women drove separately and took up all the street parking for 6 lots, plus they rented 3 golf carts.
So much for peace and quiet.
Now the house next door has been sold, also to someone from Northern Virginia, and just hit VRBO before Christmas. And it appears it is already rented for the whole summer. Plus, a house sold last fall in our block, to someone who already has other STRs in Cape Charles, so we anticipate that by summer, 3 out of 12 homes in our block will be STRs.
It is not cheap to maintain an old house. We and our neighbors take great pride in keeping our historic homes repaired and painted, and our yards beautified with gardens and trees. Because Cape Charles is a town, we pay taxes to both the town and Northampton county. This past year, the tax assessment for our home, from Northampton county increased 72%. We are retired and do not have children in the public schools, but we are happy to support the town and county, especially as relates to the k-12 schools, with our tax dollars.
We pay dearly for this sweet little piece of paradise, where we enjoy hosting family and friends and little grandchildren, but it is worth it to us. What we do not appreciate is people who do not live here, are not part of our community, but who are making a huge profit selling the beauty, peace, quiet, and safety that we cherish, and for which we pay dearly. The only people who will benefit from SB1391 are people interested in getting rich at the expense of small communities like ours.
As newly registered voters, as of last fall, in Northampton county, you can be sure that we pay close attention to issues like this, and will not vote for someone who does not represent the interests of the people who have chosen to make the Eastern Shore our home.
As an addendum, below is a response from Lynwood Lewis sent to RH Meyers regarding the Senate Bill. Mr. Myers’s response is as follows:
Your email response on behalf of Lynwood is a gross insult to the intelligence of anyone who has even a small knowledge of the Northampton County Comprehensive Plan and its derived zoning. From what you wrote, it seems that your understanding of SB1391 is seriously lacking with little to no understanding of land use under many parts of Va Code. Trying desperately to be polite, I ask that you seek land use professional help before further discussion to increase your education. I would suggest you contact Greehan, & Taves & Pandak law firm. They specialize in Virginia Land Use Law. Mr. Randy Greehan was instrumental in the formation of our Comprehensive Plan. As I wrote, SB1391 is very poorly written legislation and should be withdrawn.
IF the never happy crybabies get even a slight bit of what they think is best (decrease in tourist dollars) they will be the first to scream at their tax bills having to go up,businesses closing, and Cape Charles returning to the failure it once was. Been there,done that!
tom finn says
My property taxes have gone up too, but I’ll take New Cape Charles over Failed Cape Charles any day.
How about something in-between New & Failed..
Having visited Cape Charles for over 20 years, I think the town has made a remarkable and I believe delightful come back.
My wife and would cross the CBBT to overnight in Cape Charles after spending the day at the ocean front. We just wanted to stay away from the glize and glamour of Va. Beach’s night life and its hoteliery.
Cape Charles has a small town vibe that does ratchet up in the summers. Since its only a few square miles in size there is a distinct limit to any real summer chaos.
One street of commercial offerings and the remainder restored Victorian homes lends itself to a charming bayside community.
Maybe, its best to be thankful Cape Charles is surrounded by mostly agriculture, wildlife preservation and a robust marine environment. These are what make Northampton Co. and Cape Charles special. We all seek out unique and beautiful places. Protecting these will keep the area special and vibrant.
Stuart Bell says
Has Real Estate Investment Ruined the Shore?
No, that would be the Come-Heres.
So what brought the Come-Here’s….?…..Greed
Stuart Bell says
Lack of discretion, most likely. I was taught that if you had a boat, car, truck, or tomatoes for sale in your yard, if the car that pulls up to look at what you are selling had foriegn plates, the price doubled or tripled…Everyone has a home that they come from. If you move away from your home, you have most certainly moved to someone else’s home. It is just that simple.
A Come Here to stay says
Stuart Bell, what a ignorant comment about what you call, “Come heres”
So if no one ever moved here from somewhere else and the Shore only had folks who were born here, how long do you think it would take for everyone here to be inbred?
You old patriarchal white cronies that want no change or outsiders here, are severely lacking in the common sense department
Yeah, was with until the “White” ignorant comment was made. That tune is getting old!
Stuart Bell says
Bless Your Heart!
I will take in-bred Eastern Shoreman over a Come-Here any old day. I do not care what you think of me or my thoughts typed out here, but I sure hope you stay hydrated.
Now, tuck your raw nerves back in and run along, before they get plucked….again.
Blue Hoss says
You got a problem with White Folks?
Come Here To Stay says
I don’t have a problem with anyone’s skin color, however it IS the old bigoted white men collectively that have mucked everything up. It’s called the patriarchy. That’s specifically who I have a problem with.
NO,NO.NO .It’s all about the MONEY…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O8gTIr4lys
“however it IS the old bigoted white men collectively that have mucked everything up.”
What an ignorant and racist comment.
Come Here To Stay says
LOL I’m white. Acknowledging and calling out the patriarchy does not make me a racist or a bigot. Check your dictionary man child.
Stuart Bell says
Racism is an attitude that takes place in one’s mind.
Discrimination is an overt act that takes place in the real world.
Think about it. Calling someone Racist is as irrelevant as it would be to demand that they prefer cantaloupe over watermelon or fried chicken over baked.
To be clear, I’m not calling anyone a racist. My apologies if it came off that way. I just felt the comment was wrong, why bring race ” White Men” into this conversation.
“Check your dictionary man child” that was hilarious, Well played.
Publius Americanus says
The Patriarchy, huh? Please tell me, how does the kool aid taste?
Drink deeply, keep those fantasies alive.
Ahhhh you’re one of those red pills. That explains everything. No different than the blind sheep that drink the Kool aid, and still believe that Christopher Columbus discovered America. As for me and what I drink, you WISH you knew me that well. BAAaaaa baaaa 🐑🐑🐑🐑
Paul Plante says
Of course Columbus didn’t “discover” America!
What a silly thought because it was never hidden or a secret in the first place!
It was covered with quite a bit of ice for quite awhile, which served to discourage tourism, but once run-away man-made global warming melted all the ice and America came back into view again, the tourist rush started all over again, which is why Columbus knew to come here.
Everybody knows that!
Frieda R Harman says
I am a come-here, and there is absolutly nothing I would change! Very into the old ways and dont care for them other come heres!!!
Paul Plante says
As an aside, one must wonder why it is that the criminals flock to the Democrat-run cities as “come heres”:
“Democrat-run tourist town sees 200% surge in break-ins amid violent crime spike: ‘Wildly frustrating'”
Story by Jon Brown
5 February 2023
Break-ins in Asheville, North Carolina, saw a 200% monthly surge in January amid a violent crime spike in the Democrat-run tourist town that has hemorrhaged police officers in recent years.
The break-in surge comes amid a violent crime spike in the historic mountain town, which has seen an influx of people moving in from out of state during recent years.
Violent crime in Asheville increased 31% per 100,000 people between 2016 and 2020 – nearly double the national average and 18-percentage points higher than North Carolina’s 13% increase statewide during the same period.
According to statistics released by APD in September, such trends have continued, rising 34% year-to-date compared to 2021 and 29% over 2020.
The department noted that aggravated assaults are mostly responsible for the increase.
APD Chief David Zack told Fox News Digital last fall that his department lost more than 100 sworn officers since May 2020, and that the force is struggling to maintain visibility while “operating at almost 42% down every single day.”
Multiple local law enforcement sources from Asheville who spoke to Fox News Digital last fall laid partial blame for the mass exodus of police on the city’s liberal leadership and on left-wing activists who undermine police.
Paul Plante says
Personally, and this is just me, of course, but I think that the criminals follow the progressives and liberals around because they are such easy prey!
Reminds me of a time out in the Democrat-controlled criminal sanctuary city of San Francisco in the Democrat-controlled state of California and a confrontation with a homeless dude with a wine bottle in his hand in a park in SF near the “Dirty Harry” church, which homeless dude was going around and hassling the liberals and progressives sitting on park benches, having a great time making them cringe and cower, which they do when confronted by pretty much anything, and gradually, he made his way towards me as his next victim, at which time I simply told him, “look, dude, I’m not from here, so don’t mistake me for someone who is non-violent!”
Worked just fine, because he was gone from me in a hurry!