The aftermath of the fire has triggered anew a disagreement between the City of Harrisonburg, state legislators and lobbyists for the apartment management industry over a city ordinance that was enacted in 2015 and, prompted several bills in the General Assembly and became the subject of a legal battle that lasted more than a year.
About 25 people, holding signs with slogans such as “homeless rights are human rights” and “housing not handcuffs,” marched to council chambers from Court Square Tuesday in opposition of a proposed ordinance that was introduced to city council at their last meeting.
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.
The Harrisonburg City Council once again postponed completing its appointments to the Harrisonburg Electric Commission by filling only one of two spots at Tuesday’s meeting, but it did unanimously approve a one-year pilot program to regulate sharable scooters and bikes. City Attorney Chris Brown presented the one-year “pilot project” for the permitting of Bird and Lime-S electric scooters that have flooded the city since last fall.
After first crafting their vision for what they want Harrisonburg to be in 20 years, city council members and top city leaders emerged from their three-day retreat on Sunday with a clearer idea of their priorities — including building the new high school and developing a comprehensive housing plan. Overall, the council members identified 22 priorities during their retreat at Hotel Madison that they hope to act on in the next three years.