Tourist rentals become hot topic in Warren County

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — Tourist rentals – that is, property owners renting their homes out for short terms to tourists – seem to be increasing in Warren County.

On Wednesday, June 11, the Warren County Planning Commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing on a conditional use permit application from Jon and Susan Fuller. According to a Planning Department staff report, the Fullers, who currently live in Florida, bought a house in the Apple Mountain Subdivision in Linden in January as a future retirement home, but also want to make it available to relatives who already live in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as renting it to tourists for short periods.

Next Tuesday, June 17, the Warren County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on a similar application from Todd and Brenda Peal, Fairfax residents who want to rent out a property in the Hidden Valley section of Skyland Estates that they bought at foreclosure in 2012. According to a staff report, the Peals renovated the home to use as a weekend getaway cabin for themselves, but also want to rent out part time to others.

The Planning Commission has already held its own public hearing on the Peals’ request and sent it to the board of supervisors for approval next week. The commission is holding its first public hearing on the Fullers’ request this week, and will most likely send it to the supervisors next month.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Planning Commission also voted to authorize advertisements for public hearings on three additional applications for conditional use permits to allow short-term tourist rentals. The applicants are:
• Keith and Kimberly Hartke, requesting permission to rent out their property in the High Knob Subdivision;
• Paul and Jennifer Hill, requesting permission to rent out property on Panhandle Road;
• Jason Miller, requesting permission to rent out property in the Blue Mountain Subdivision.

A county staff report indicates that at least one of the properties, the Skyland Estates home owned by the Peals, was already being rented out without the proper zoning permit, and they were asked to submit a proper permit and agree to conditions placed upon the property by the county to bring their business into compliance.

That was also the situation with another recent request that was approved by the Planning Commission but denied last month by the Board of Supervisors.

Tareq Salahi had been renting out his home in Mosby Overlook Estates without a proper permit until neighbors complained to the county. Salahi submitted a conditional use permit application in December, which was later approved by the Planning Commission after he agreed to be bound by restrictive conditions outlined by the county.

But on May 20, the supervisors voted 4-1 to deny Salahi’s request based upon complaints from other residents of the gated community in which his property is located.
Salahi’s lawyer, David Silek, said he would appeal the decision to the Warren County Circuit Court.

Last week, County Attorney Blair Mitchell told the supervisors he had received an “appeal e-mail” from Silek. Mitchell said he “advised [Silek that an] e-mail is not sufficient,” but as of June 3 he had not received a more formal notice of appeal, either from Silek or from the Circuit Court Clerk.

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