By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Last night (3/18), the Greene County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a special use permit (SUP) allowing a treehouse for tourist lodging.
Applicant David Van Derveer owns 3.1 acres on Mulberry Drive near Stanardsville and wants to convert a treehouse that he has been renting long term into tourist lodging through AirBnB. The property is zoned A-1, Agricultural and requires the SUP.
The “Tree House” structure is near the main house and uses the bath and kitchen facilities in the main house. In addition, in the main house one of the rooms is technically an accessory dwelling since it has bath and kitchen and it technically is part of the SUP request.
Van Derveer owns 7 parcels around the main house which screen the main house and tree house from surrounding properties. He indicated to the Planning Commission that by switching from a long term rental to an AirBnB unit the traffic from the unit should actually decline.
The first two speakers in the Public Hearing raised existing traffic concerns from Van Derveer’s property and issues related to the operation of his other units. Chairman Jay Willer reminded speakers that their comments should only be related to the specific SUP and the Planning Commission would be making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors and there will be another chance for comments at their hearing.
The other three speakers spoke in favor of the request and indicated the development has enhanced the neighborhood and that having an AirBnB is good for the finances of the county as opposed to long term renters that may have children attending the schools.
The Planning Commission agreed that adding this one structure is a slight increase in density to what is allowed by right. They again stressed that the final decision is the Board of Supervisors. With that, the Special Use Permit was unanimously recommended for approved and it will go before the Board for a final decision.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online
Photo Credits: AirBnB