By Carol Vaughn —
The Parksley Town Council will hold a public hearing in September about regulations and fees for short-term rental, or homestay, businesses.
The website airbnb.com as of this week lists one such business in Parksley, but the town at present does not have an ordinance governing them.
“There are no legitimate airbnbs in Parksley,” said Mayor Frank Russell at Monday’s council meeting.
In a straw poll, all council members present agreed with Russell’s recommendation that the town should charge a fee, either annual or monthly, to operators of short-term rentals rather than collecting a transient occupancy tax.
“That way, we’ll know we’ll get this much money,” he said.
Council member Henry Nicholson was absent.
Council member Dan Matthews agreed, saying charging a set fee “incentivizes them to bring more people in.”
Officials have expressed mixed feelings about allowing short-term rental businesses in Parksley. Russell said, “My first thought was, no airbnbs. … But I got thinking, if people can make money on these big, old Victorian homes, they’ll fix them up. … And that’s what we want. We want the houses fixed up.”
Town attorney Tom Dix provided the council a draft version of regulations about taxing short-term rentals, modeled on Onancock’s ordinance.
Matthews asked Town Clerk Lauren Lewis to inquire of Onancock employees what the town “does and does not like” about their process for regulating the businesses.
The council voted to hold a public hearing Monday, Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m., before the next regular council meeting.