The first special use permit (SUP) for tourist lodging in an R-1 residential zoning was unanimously approved by the Greene County Board of Supervisors at its May 28 meeting. No one spoke during the public hearing.

Tourism lodging is a by-right use in both A-1 agricultural zoning and C-1 conservation zoning in the county. For R-1 residential, owners must receive approval for an SUP before renting their properties.

Jim Frydl, director of planning and zoning, said the Pine Bluff Road location includes an owner-occupied home with a finished basement.

“Even though it’s R1 [zoning] it is in the rural area of the comprehensive plan,” Frydl said. The home is in Greene Mountain Lake in Ruckersville.

The home will have a separate entrance for tourists and the basement includes a bedroom, living room, small dining area, kitchenette and a bathroom.

Frydl said no agencies had issues with SUP and the application matches Greene’s comprehensive plan for tourism.

The planning commission unanimously recommended approval with conditions that the property be owner occupied and the SUP evaluated every three years.

County Attorney Kelly Kemp said the last condition would be difficult to enforce.

“If the use is valid today the use will be valid three years from now,” she said. “If someone is violating the conditions or ordinances … you (as the board) have the ability to revoke after a public hearing.”

Homeowner Bob Emery said he and his wife have had great experiences with AirBnB themselves and thought they’d apply for their own property.

“We thought about renting our home in Charlottesville for a number of years but didn’t get around to doing anything about it,” Emery said. “We have this great house out here by the lake and we like hospitality and things like that. We’re at that stage of life where we don’t want to be changing sheets every day, week after week so we’re not looking at an intensive rental, but we wanted the opportunity to rent for certain days.”

Ruckersville Supervisor Michelle Flynn said she appreciated the applicants going through the approval process instead of just renting their property.

“We wanted to go through the approval process to be sure it’s done right,” Emery said.

Board Chair Bill Martin, Stanardsville District, said he viewed the SUP as a way to expand property rights for the county and disagreed with putting any conditions on the SUP.

“I tend to not like putting a ton of limitations and restrictions on to be enforced and double checked and triple checked,” Martin said. “I’m kind of inclined unless someone else weighs in that … we treat it like we treat our [agriculture zoned properties] for now. It’s a work in progress. We do know that our last recourse is to revisit this through a public hearing and pull back the special use permit.”

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