By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
To allow tourist lodging in a residential zone in Greene County requires a Special Use Permit (SUP). a landowner who lives in the rear section of the Deer Lake Estates development off Route 29 made such a request of the Greene County Planning Commission at their April meeting. Due to the state of emergency the April 15, 2020 Planning Commission meeting was held virtually.
Chester Hull owns a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on .88 acres in the back of the Deer Lakes Estate development (119 Rudolph Street). He and his wife requested a SUP to allow them to rent their house when they are themselves traveling.
Administrator Planning Director/Zoning Administrator [title corrected 4.19-nw] Jim Frydl presented the request to the commission and clarified that in R-1 zoning a SUP is required for this type of use. He indicated that no issues were raised by the agencies that reviewed the request. Frydl also stated that the use of the home for a short-term rental doesn’t change the development. There would be no additional impact to the school system and traffic would not increase a result of the rental.
Greene County code provides a specific definition of “Tourist Lodging”:
the provision of lodging within a single family dwelling and/or one or more structures that are accessory to the single family dwelling, with guest rooms (determined by right or by special use permit per Article 16-25), in which guest rooms are occupied for less than thirty (30) consecutive days, and which also may include rooms for dining and for meetings for use by tourist lodging guests, provided that the dining and meeting rooms are accessory to the tourist lodging use. The owners may or may not reside in the dwelling. The tourist lodging definition would include the limited residential lodging uses also referred to as bed and breakfast lodging, lodges, country inns, hostels, and lodging houses as long as the use was in compliance with the applicable regulations under Article 16-25. (Revised 7/12/16)
The Planning Commission received one citizen letter related to the request and it raised some concerns about traffic in the development. Chairman Jay Willer asked Hull how often they planned on renting their home and he indicated 4 – 6 times per year. Hull also explained that he spoke to all of the adjoining property owners about the use and they were all in favor.
The meeting shifted to the public hearing where only one person spoke about the impact on property values that this might have. After the public hearing Willer asked Hull how neighbors would be able to address concerns if they were not at the home when it is rented. Hull explained that he has given every neighbor his cell phone number and also his parents live in the neighborhood and can also be contact in his absence. Frydl addressed the question about property values and he indicated that in general tourist lodging increases the property value in the area.
While the commission discussed ending the SUP when the property changes ownership (like they had done in one SUP last year) and if there were any special requirements for controlling noise to be placed on the SUP, the commission’s only restriction was to limit the use to the existing structure on the property. If another structure were to be added to the property then an additional SUP would have to applied for to allow its use. With that provision the SUP was unanimously recommended approval and forwarded the recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration and final action.
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