Norfolkans may be able to rent out their spare rooms soon.
The Norfolk Planning Commission approved two motions that will allow short-term rentals such as Airbnbs and VRBOs in residential areas, if passed by the city council.
Valerie Grimes, planning and development director, explained the motion at Tuesday morning’s planning commission meeting.
“Short-term rentals are what most people would consider an Airbnb, a VRBO, somebody renting out a house for a person coming into town, almost like a hotel but in a residential district, in a residential house,” she said.
At present, renting out rooms or houses using Airbnb or another platform would be illegal, Grimes said.
“Currently they’re not allowed in the city. People are doing them currently, not legally, it sounds like, in the City of Norfolk,” she said. “So this is a way to get them to become legal.”
Short-term rentals would have to be licensed every year and inspected, Grimes said. No permit fee has been set, but $150 each year been discussed.
The city would define short term as 30 days or fewer.
The Norfolk Planning Commission met Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at the Norfolk City Council Chambers.
Commission members present: Dan Spray, Kyle Deets, Zackary Gangwer, Dirk Waite, Jacob Thone, Mary Hammond, Brandon Franklin and Martin Griffith.
Commission members absent: Melissa Figueroa
Meeting lasted: 25 minutes.
Others in attendance: City staff, four; media representatives, two; and three from the public.
— Approved conditional use permit for an oversize accessory building on property addressed as 2804 E. Norfolk Ave.
— Approved conditional use permit for storage and warehousing of non-hazardous materials on properties addressed as 211 W. Madison Ave. and 207 S. 3rd St.
— Recommended amending city code to regulate short-term rentals; to amend the definition of “hotel” and add a definition for “short-term rentals” in the zoning code; and to enact Section 27-284 to address short-term rentals in the zoning code.
— Recommended amending land use matrix to create a new category of use which will be conditional with an existing, valid residential conditional use permit; to remove bed and breakfast inns as a conditional use in district B-P; and to add short-term rentals to the matrix.
— Recommended a sidewalk waiver for property located at 2812 E. Benjamin Ave.