nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Subscribe | Special Sections


Local News arrow Alex Bridges arrow Warren County

| 0

Fallout over vacation rental rules continues

2014_07_30_FR_Rentals.jpg
Steve Muha and Chris Pollock stand at their rental property on High Top Road in the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District. They have an approved permit to rent out the house to tourists. Alex Bridges/Daily (Buy photo)


By Alex Bridges

Warren County has put a halt to most short-term tourist rentals until officials revise the regulations in the coming months.

The action meant many owners running businesses without permission had to cancel future reservations at least through the end of the year. Some owners say this takes away a source of income and will hurt the local tourism industry.

Assistant County Attorney Dan Whitten said he recently sent letters to all owners who rent their houses on a short-term basis to tourists, without a required permit, to cease this activity. Many rental owners requested permits in recent months after being notified by the county they were violating regulations. But the Board of Supervisors, after denying a few requests, halted the process for many applicants and asked that the Planning Commission to revisit the ordinance adopted in 2012.

Supervisors plan to discuss the ordinance during its work session Tuesday following the regular meeting at 9 a.m.

Opposition to tourist rentals arose earlier this year when Tareq Salahi tried to obtain a permit for his Mosby Overlook Estates property. He had been renting the home for a year without approval. The fallout prompted many owners in other parts of the county to apply for permits, though some prompted similar complaints about noise, trash, traffic and road damage.

The fallout and ensuing uncertainty prompted Todd and Brenda Peal to put property they bought in Skyland Estates back on the market and possibly use the money to buy a home in another county to rent out. Supervisors recently denied the Peals' permit request. While the Peals can reapply, Todd Peal said Wednesday this would be a moot point if the county changes the rules to no longer allow rentals in residential zones.

"Being self-employed and being past 21, you kinda know when you're not wanted and I want to be a good neighbor," Todd Peal said. "There was certainly no intention [to violate regulations] but at this point it really doesn't matter."

Kimberly Hartke, who also received a cease-and-desist letter, has created a group in support of the short-term tourist rental business. The group is called the Shenandoah Lodging and Tourism Alliance (http://TouristsWelcome.net) and includes property owners and people connected to local tourism. Support continues to grow and many of those people affected see this as a property-rights issue, Hartke said.

Hartke's permit request goes to the Board of Supervisors next month for the scheduling of a public hearing.

Steve Muha and Chris Pollock, both retired, live in Shenandoah Farms and also rent out a house on High Top Road to tourists. Muha and Pollock are the only owners with an approved permit and they began renting the house in December 2012. While their permit isn't in jeopardy, Muha and Pollock say they support Hartke's effort and have joined her group.

Muha and Pollock say their rental operation is successful and draws hundreds of tourists from all over the world throughout the year. But Muha also said the rental business comes with costs - licensing, the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District fee assessed on all properties that helps pay for road work, and real estate taxes. Muha noted that they also collect the same transient occupancy tax that hotels and motels pass along from visitors to the county.

Muha and Pollock voiced empathy with the other owners whose permit requests remain in limbo.

"It's gonna destroy tourism here potentially," Muha said this week.

Muha suggested that the county require owners to not take any more reservations rather than force them to cancel existing bookings.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


Keep up to date on local news

Sign up here to receive Northern Virginia Daily news delivered to your email box each morning and when breaking news occurs.

Comments

Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. View our comments/submisssions policy. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.














Local News Sections

Affordable Care Act Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Automotive Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Brad Fauber Breaking News Business Charities Cigarette Trafficking Civil War Clarke County Colleges Corrections & Clarifications Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Election 2013 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Katie Demeria Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mount Jackson New Market Page County Pet of the Week Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Progress 2014 Quicksburg Recreation Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Ryan Cornell School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Tommy Keeler Jr. Toms Brook Tourism Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review


News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Comments/Submissions Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

nvdaily.com
2014 Virginia Press Association Grand Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!


nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com