County panel backs requests for tourist rentals

• FRONT ROYAL – Warren County planners endorsed a handful of short-term rental proposals this week.

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to forward the following requests for conditional-use permits to run short-term tourist rentals to the Board of Supervisors recommending approval:

• Property owned by Robert and Jacqueline Fishman at 92 Hideaway Road, zoned residential, in the Blue Mountain subdivision
• Property owned by Donald W. Kane at 134 Farm Ridge Road, zoned residential
• Property owned by Kristina Kurrus and Kathryn Hixson at 76 Reynolds Court, zoned agricultural
• Property owned by Rainbow Views LLC at 1460 High Top Road, zoned residential

The commission held public hearings on the four permit requests. Neighbors of the Fishman and Kane properties voiced concerns during the pertinent hearing about the proposed use as rentals for tourists.

Kane’s request drew neighbors’ concerns about the effect a rental would have on traffic and the road leading to the property. Each property owner also responded to the concerns raised by the neighbors.

Kane tried to reassure neighbors that he would do what he could prevent to problems, adding that he plans to work through AirBNB, a service that reviews potential renters.

Commissioner Hugh Henry commented that Kane likely would keep up the property and protect his investment. Commissioner Ralph Rinaldi said using the Kane property as a short-term rental might work out better than long term. Rinaldi said problems arose while it was being rented out long term.

No one spoke during the hearing on the request by sisters Kurrus and Hixson. Speakers during the hearing on Rainbow Views’ request voiced support for the rental use.

Also at the meeting, the commission:
• Endorsed a request by Nadene J. Murphy for a conditional-use permit to use property on Rivermont Acres Road for private camping. No one spoke during the public hearing on the request.
• Endorsed a request by Mark T. Smoot to amend the county zoning map and to rezone approximately one-half acre of property from agricultural to commercial; and a request for a conditional-use permit to operate a commercial repair garage with wrecking and towing services, and rental and storage of cars, boats and recreational vehicles on property located off U.S. 340 South. Conditions with the permit include a prohibition on storage of inoperable vehicles on the property for more than 30 days; vehicles must not park on Chapman Farm Road or block the entrance and exit to 62 Chapman Farm Road; no more than 11 employees shall be associated with the business at any one time. No one spoke during public hearings held on Smoot’s requests.
• Agreed that a proposed fire-and-rescue classroom training site located off Va. Route 55 East and ESA Lane is in line with the Comprehensive Plan

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or