As Fairfax County considers developing regulations to govern the use of short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb), three community meetings — including one in Reston — have been scheduled to gather community input.
The community meeting in Reston will be held Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). Additional meetings are slated for Alexandria on Sept. 13 and McLean on Sept. 25.
Community members are also invited to submit their input in an online survey, which is available through the end of August.
Currently in Fairfax County, short-term rentals — properties rented for less than 30 days at a time — are only allowed with approval of a special exception by the Board of Supervisors to classify a home as a bed and breakfast. In Reston, where residents must follow county laws related to the practice, short-term rentals have been the source of debate. Most recently, at the May meeting of the Reston Association Board of Directors, short-term rentals at a home on Trails Edge Lane were the topic of controversy.
At that meeting, the Board decided to consider amending its governing documents to clarify the RA’s position on homesharing, to strengthen its standing in the effort to stop violations of county rules.
This county’s proposed zoning rules for short-term rentals may address issues including where the rentals will be allowed in the county, how often they can be rented out, what types of properties can be rented out, and how many people will be allowed to stay in a property at any one time.
According to information provided by the county:
The county is considering the regulations as a result of new state law passed this year that allows localities to require registration of short-term rentals. The Board of Supervisors directed county staff to initiate an analysis of STRs and propose draft zoning regulations.
Ultimately, the board will decide whether to adopt the new rules, and both the Planning Commission and board will hold public hearings on the zoning rules before any action is taken. No public hearing dates have been scheduled at this time. Any additional meetings and the future public hearing dates will be posted on the short-term rental webpage.
To get more information or to offer feedback, contact the county’s Zoning Ordinance Administration Division by email or call 703-324-1314.
Hook Road Project Info Session — Anyone interested in learning about the Hook Road Recreation Area project and the forming of a working group may attend an information session on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). Email [email protected] for more about serving on the working group. [Reston Association]
Third Outreach Session on Bikeshare Announced — The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced a third public outreach event to gather community input on the proposed sites for Capital Bikeshare expansion in Reston. It will be Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market. [VDOT]
Aquatics Center To Close for Annual Maintenance — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) will be closed from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. It is scheduled to reopen at noon Sept. 16. [Reston Community Center]
County Short-Term Rental Survey Ongoing — Fairfax County is developing regulations to govern the use of short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb). It is gathering community input through Aug. 31. [Fairfax County/Survey Monkey]
Column: Virginia Should Not Pay for ‘Skins Stadium — Regular ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot wrote this week about how the costs of bringing a new Washington Redskins home field to Virginia would far outweigh the benefits for taxpayers. [ARLnow]
It’s late at night and a resident pulls into their cul-de-sac after a long evening at work. Once they turn into their street, they find their block crowded for the umpteenth time with unfamiliar cars, followed by a new group of people temporarily staying in their neighbor’s home for a couple of days.
How would you react?
The scenario above describes the situation that has been increasingly reported throughout Reston, as more residents have begun to rent out their homes for profit over short periods of time through services such as Airbnb, Homeaway and Roomarama.
Fairfax County is currently in the process of developing stricter regulations for residents who wish to rent out their homes through such services. The County is looking for feedback on what residents think about the proposed regulations.
As of July 1, Virginia state law will give local governments the authority to require registration for these rentals.
According to the survey, the proposal would address:
- Where these rentals would be allowed in the county
- How often they could be rented out
- What types of properties could be rented out
- How many people would be allowed to stay in a property at any one time
If you’d be interested in participating in the survey, fill it out here.
Reston Association is making efforts to clamp down on those whose rental habits might be a disturbance to their neighbors. Currently, following County legislation, only those who own single-family homes are allowed to rent their space for less than 30 days.
At a community feedback meeting at Reston Association headquarters Wednesday evening, the home-sharing issue was named as a challenge RA will face going forward.
“I view this as one of the greatest threats to the way we live here in Reston,” said Rick Hamilton, of the Polo Fields cluster. “From the description of what goes on in the one [discussed at the May 26 RA meeting], that is frightening.”
At Thursday night’s meeting, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to explore amending the association’s covenants to clarify and strengthen rules surrounding whether residents are permitted to rent out their homes temporarily to visitors, such as through sites like Airbnb.com.
Airbnb has become a hot topic throughout Fairfax County over the past year. County officials have sought to remind residents of the laws regarding short-term rentals of less than 30 days. Special permits must be obtained for operating one’s home much like a bed and breakfast, and for the most part, only single-family homes are allowed to do so, and not attached homes such as apartments, condos or townhomes.
Reston Association has previously mandated that, as part of the county, residents follow the county laws. However, the RA has been receiving some complaints about residents that have been renting out their homes on Airbnb anyway.
In particular, several letters have been received about a home on Trails Edge Lane. Complaints have alleged that not only have the owners been renting out parts of the home for as little as one day–at rates as low as $28 per night–but they have been exceeding maximum safe occupancy limits, sometimes putting multiple renters to a room, and renting out three to four rooms in a single home at the same time.
According to RA documents, the current owners purchased the home in question in January of 2016, and the complaints began just a few months later.
At first, documents indicate RA staff spoke with the homeowners, who agreed to abide by the county’s rules and only rent out the home for periods of longer than 30 days, which would not violate the county’s rules against “short-term” rentals. (more…)