The city council took steps to address Harrisonburg’s housing and real estate environment Tuesday night with the approval of a new zoning district for single family houses to go on smaller lots and gave the green light to the first three special permits to operate Airbnbs in the city.
The most recent planning commission agenda packet – containing a first batch of short-term rental special use permit applications – was so large that it broke the city website, eventually had to be uploaded in three parts, and pushed the commission’s meeting well past midnight.
Short term rentals in Harrisonburg, including Airbnb properties and vacation rentals, will soon be regulated by special use permits – if a new proposed city ordinance passes its second reading at the next city council meeting.
Almost a year after the city of Harrisonburg began looking at how to regulate Airbnb properties, the city council is still grappling with how to do it in an enforceable and fair way. Now city staff are drafting a two-pronged plan to cover the different ways properties are being rented out through the popular site.