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News: Updates & The Informed Citizen, Louisa County Newsletter

Posted on: October 6, 2023

Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Short term rental

Meeting Information

A new Draft Short-Term Rental Ordinance was discussed at the Planning Commission Work Session on July 13. Follow our Public Meeting Portal or sign up for agenda notifications / calendar notifications to stay informed of the schedule.

Overview of the Proposed Ordinance

Introduction to Short-Term Rentals (STRs)

What is the Definition of STRs? 
Short-term rentals (STRs) are accommodations that are rented for a period of less than 30 days. They are often rented out by individuals or businesses to tourists or business travelers. STRs can include apartments, houses, condos, and even rooms in a home.

What are the Benefits of STRs?

    • Residents: Short-term rentals can provide residents with additional income, which can be helpful for homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. They can also help to revitalize neighborhoods by bringing in new visitors and businesses.
    • Businesses: Some of our businesses rely heavily on tourism activity and the number of visitors to the County directly impacts their success.

Ordinance Highlights

What's Different about the Proposed Regulations?
The proposed regulations are simplified from previous versions and ensure we’ll have the broadest coverage. Property owners will still need to abide by the zoning code, to include compliance with all applicable state building code and safety regulations.

How will this Impact Responsible STR Operators?
The proposed ordinance aims to establish clear regulations. Responsible STR operators are most likely will not need to much differently - the only thing they may need to start doing differently is to also start providing a copy of their septic system report to the County.

What are the Goals of the Proposed Ordinance?
The goals of the proposed ordinance are to:

  • Balance the needs of homeowners and STR operators
  • Protect the character of neighborhoods
  • Ensure the safety of guests and neighbors

The goals of the proposed ordinance will be accomplished through a combination of:

  • Conditional use permits (CUPs): CUPs will be required for STRs in certain areas, such as residential neighborhoods. This will allow the county to carefully consider the impact of each STR on the surrounding community.
  • By-right: STRs will be allowed by-right in certain areas, such as Agricultural districts. This will allow homeowners to rent out their properties without having to go through the CUP process or having restrictions. By-right for Agricultural districts is a reflection of the Attorney General Opinion No. 22-036 released in January 2023. 
  • By-right with restrictions: STRs will be allowed by-right in certain areas, but with restrictions. For example, in the Growth Areas, STRs will need to provide specific information to tenants as well as provide one parking space per bedroom and one trailer space (8'x20') onsite.

Who Can Have a STR By-Right?
The list of below of zoning districts is allowable by-right or allowable by-right with restrictions. GAOD for short-term rental of a dwelling means all properties zoned Residential Limited (R-1) and Residential General (R-2) located within the boundaries of a designated Growth Area as shown on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. If you have waterfront property on Lake Anna, you most likely are located in a growth area. If you are unsure of your zoning information, see Zoning District Descriptions and our Determine Your Zoning District webpage.

  • A-1 = Allowable by-right
  • A-1 (GAOD) = Allowable by-right
  • A-2 = Allowable by-right
  • A-2 (GAOD) = Allowable by-right
  • R-1 (GAOD) = Allowable by-right (with restrictions)
  • R-2 (GAOD) = Allowable by-right (with restrictions)
  • RD = Allowable by-right (with restrictions)

Who Can Have a STR with a Conditional Use Permit?

  • R-1 = Conditional use permit
  • R-2 = Conditional use permit
  • C-1 = Conditional use permit
  • C-1 (GAOD) = Conditional use permit
  • C-2 = Conditional use permit
  • C-2 (GAOD) = Conditional use permit
  • IND = Conditional use permit
  • IND (GAOD) = Conditional use permit
  • 1-1 = Conditional use permit
  • 1-1 (GAOD) = Conditional use permit
  • 1-2 = Conditional use permit
  • 1-2 (GA) = Conditional use permit

How Regulations will Address Concerns: 

  • Requiring owners of short-term rentals to provide contact information to the county and the subdivision governing body. This would make it easier for the county to track short-term rentals and respond to complaints.
  • Providing the current Louisa County Code chapters relative to Noise and Solid Waste as part of Short-Term Rental contracts. This would help to ensure that tenants are aware of the noise and waste disposal regulations that apply to short-term rentals.
  • Prohibiting events, associated rentals, and Special Occasion Facilities, unless the property has a valid conditional use permit. This would help to prevent short-term rentals from becoming a nuisance to neighbors.
  • Requiring one off-street vehicle parking space per bedroom, and one off-street trailer space measuring 8 ft. x 20 ft. This would help to ensure that short-term rentals do not contribute to traffic congestion or parking problems in neighborhoods.
  • Requiring documentation of septic system inspections and repairs to be provided to the county whenever completed. This would help to ensure that short-term rentals are not contributing to environmental problems.
  • Requiring the dwelling to comply with all applicable state building code and safety regulations. This would help to ensure that short-term rentals are safe for guests and neighbors.

Related Questions

Will this Proposed Ordinance Negate HOA/POA Regulations?

What Happens if a STR Operator is in violation of an ordinance?
Code violations may be reported to the County. Outside the scope of public health/safety and general welfare, issues may be civil or criminal matters.

Discussion Timeline

Why Hasn't this Been Discussed at Meetings Since Last Year?
In 2022, the Board of Supervisors had serious conversations regarding the implementation of short-term rental regulations. Though the Board remained committed to the safety of all in the County, they paused those discussions for two reasons. Though not the main reason, the first reason was a degree of staff preparation was needed. Any regulations they may have passed are associated with a certain amount of new administrative work. Staff analyzed the relevant laws and regulations and conducted a comprehensive review of the available options to develop a plan that met our objectives while staying within the bounds of State law. The second much larger reason we paused our discussions was they were waiting for the outcome of legislation at the state level. 

Conversations have been ongoing with stakeholder groups in 2023.

Proposed Regulations

See the simplified proposed regulations: Draft Short-Term Rental Ordinance.

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Short-Term Rental Ordinance
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