Lexington zoning gets House of Delegates call out

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) Zoning can be hard, with restaurants and hotels, businesses and B and Bs.

Lexington recently reviewed their zoning, responding to neighborhood worries about new forms of short term rentals, like Airbnb.

“The demand from many of our citizens was even tighter restrictions, much tighter restrictions," explains Patrick Rhamey, Lexington City Council member. "And we decided to strike something of a compromise between those that were for and against.”

Problem solved, right? Not so fast. Delegate Barry Knight from Virginia Beach introduced House Bill 824, naming Lexington, and in 13 sections citing Virginia code, saying that the city had to change their zoning.

Lexington City officials responded with a “Call to Action.”

“In my opinion, the attack on Lexington is but a way to open the door to try to reduce regulations in Roanoke and Charlottesville and Staunton and Harrisonburg and all these bigger cities,” Rhamey says.

The bill cites the state regulations on local zoning efforts, and realtors dislike Lexington’s short term rental limitations because that cuts into owners – and potential buyers – ability to use their homes to rent to students and parents in this college town.

“If what we were doing was against existing law," Rhamey says. "Then there would be a court case not special interest legislation.”

This is hardly done. Talks are underway with local legislators and the bill’s future.