Save Our Sandbridge
The Majority SPOKE!
Contrary to the opposition’s email of 11/16/2016, the Virginian Pilot reporter got it right! We were NOT at the City Council meeting to deny taxes to Virginia Beach! We were there to “give them an earful about what we think when the topic of new regulations on short-term rentals does come up for a vote!”
Save Our Sandbridge
For at least the last 60 years the City of Virginia Beach has allowed and/or promoted the short term rental of private homes in the Sandbridge subdivision of the city. When Sandbridge was originally platted, it was anticipated to be another thoroughfare to the Outer Banks. There were three sections (Market Area, S Turn, and South end) that were zoned B-4. This is one of the most intensive Business zonings there is and it was anticipated that there would be hotels built in these areas (up to 30 stories possible by right). Obviously the thoroughfare never happened, but we still have that zoning on these parcels. This is not a Residential Area but a mixed-use Resort Community. During this time the property values in Sandbridge have dramatically increased to levels that now generate significant property tax revenue for the city. Furthermore, the vast majority of the properties in Sandbridge that accept short term rentals have conformed to the city’s transient occupancy tax, and Virginia sales tax, via the property management firms’ policies for collection and remittance of such taxes.
Over the last 20 to 30 years there have been a number of permanent residents who have moved into Sandbridge that now want the city to regulate these short term rentals. The traditional complaints from Sandbridge residents of noise, trash, and illegal parking associated with the use of short term rentals are the same reasons they are currently seeking regulations. The unhappy residents indicate that they support the short term rentals while suggesting regulations that make the practice unappealing to current and prospective property owners. One of the more restrictive suggested regulations states that short term rentals are leases of between 7 and 89 days, eliminating vacations of less than a week. According to CBS News “The average American worker is entitled to 16 days of paid leave. But the length of the average vacation lasts just over four days!” This move would significantly hurt the property owners’ potential income from short term rentals.
Impact of Changes
If the tax revenue benefits from these short term rentals are not enough to convince some, then consider how many jobs are affected by the suggested regulations. By some estimates, there are over 1000 people who are directly employed to rent, clean, or maintain the rental properties in Sandbridge. Without having an economic impact study performed, it would be difficult to ascertain the impact to the surrounding commerce centers but one can reasonably assume the impact would not be positive.
Are there any property ownership issues to be considered? According to one real estate professional, who is not associated with the property management firms in Sandbridge, there are several people already listing their homes for sale due to the “chatter” about regulation. Some believe that there could be hundreds of properties listed for sale in a very short timeframe effectively destroying property values in the community. Please consider signing the petition below for distribution to the City leaders deciding our fate.