Virginia Beach approves short-term rentals at the Oceanfront

Vacationers looking for a place to stay near the Oceanfront will now have choices other than hotel rooms.

The Virginia Beach City Council approved new short-term rentals in the Oceanfront Resort zoning district at a meeting Tuesday. Property owners who want to operate short-term rentals in the new “overlay” district will be required to obtain a conditional use permit.

Sandbridge is the only other area in the city where short-term rentals are allowed. Earlier this summer, the City Council passed a law that bans short-term rentals in the rest of the city but allows neighborhoods to petition to become an overlay district in which permits would be required.

The Oceanfront Resort zoning district includes properties along Atlantic and Pacific avenues from the Rudee Inlet Loop to the Cavalier Hotel at 42nd Street. It extends west along multiple residential blocks in the Laskin Road area and from 16th to 22nd streets.

Only two council members — Sabrina Wooten and Barbara Henley — voted against it.

Henley said she’s concerned about the quality of the district’s future housing inventory if developers build only for short-term rentals.

“Hotels are built to a much higher standard code-wise,” Henley said. “But if you’re building it for short-term rental, you only have to meet a residential standard.”

The City Council on Tuesday also approved new safety regulations for short-term rentals by a 6-4 vote, requiring on-site inspections for smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. Properties will also be required to display a four-foot square sign identifying it as a short-term rental.

Structural inspections of decks will be required every three years, and grandfathered short-term rentals that aren’t used for two years would expire.

Mayor Bobby Dyer and council members Wooten, John Moss and Aaron Rouse voted against the new rules.

“Sometimes by putting a lot of regulations on legal entities, it’s going to compel, you know, illegal entities that don’t want to comply with a lot of regulations,” the mayor said.

Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125,