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 way Harrisonburg zones for new housing could change drastically over the next several years as city leaders wrestle with their approach to new developments. And early signs of those changes are starting this month.
Soon, perhaps even later today, Wes Way hopes he will have signed the contract on a home in the Northeast neighborhood. But he’s had to get creative to do it.
Way is one of the prospective buyers scrambling to find a home before it gets snapped up in Harrisonburg’s tight market. Knowing the seller can be a boon to buyers, as homes tend to be on the market for a matter of days, or sometimes hours, before going under contract.
Harrisonburg is a little closer to allowing police and city staff to impound scooters abandoned in a right-of-way, blocking entryways or pedestrian traffic, or being ridden on sidewalks downtown.
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.