Short-term rentals in New Kent up for discussion, input from public
New Kent supervisors will take some time and seek input from community members regarding short-term rentals.
County Administrator Rodney Hathaway approached county leaders during Wednesday morning’s work session to provide information and garner feedback. In short, Hathaway spoke about AirBNBs and other rental properties that provide a limited stay of 30-days of less.
“There is a difference between short-term rentals and ‘Bed and Breakfasts’ by definition,” the administrator said, pointing to the key difference is that an owner or caretaker must reside on the property of a ‘Bed and Breakfast.’ “In New Kent, short-term rentals are required to have a business license.”
Hathaway continued his commentary, speaking on how other localities attempt to manage rental properties. According to the county administrator, some jurisdictions have occupancy limits, have the operators live on the property for 185 days out the year, restrict the activity use, or apply zoning regulations. The biggest thing he noticed was that most short-term rental properties are required to register.
District 1 representative Thomas Evelyn said his concerns were how the short-term properties and ‘Bed and Breakfast’ were regulated.
“I think for it to be fair, we should require them [short-term properties] to pay taxes,” Evelyn said, pointing to how registration fees, sales taxes, and lodging taxes may be applied.
But both District 4 representative Ron Stiers and District 5 leader Ray Davis vied for more input from the public.
“It always seems like we want to implement a tax, whether it’s a sales tax, occupancy tax, or a registration fee, which is essentially another tax,” Stiers commented.
“In some neighborhoods, I know there are some neighbors who do not like seeing houses used as rental properties,” chimed in Davis. “You have people renting out AirBNBs because of limited places to stay in New Kent. It does affect the neighbors.”
Hathaway informed supervisors that if they elected to go the route of registering short-term rentals, it would not have to go back to the planning commission. But if zoning implementation was pursued, the regulations would have to return to public hearing.
Supervisors elected to defer to any type of action or recommendation for the time being. Instead, staff was instructed to receive more public feedback on short-term rentals with a possible public hearing or town hall in the works for a future meeting.