VACo opposes SB 1491 (Stuart), which defines “agritourism activity” to include the rental of a single-family residence for a period of at least one week. VACo opposes this measure because it further reduces local land use regulatory authority. Under legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2014 – HB 268 (Orrock) and SB 51 (Stuart) – localities were restricted from regulating any “agritourism activity” (as defined in Section 3.2-6400 of the Code of Virginia) unless the operation has a “substantial impact upon the health, safety, or general welfare of the public.” The 2014 legislation also prohibited localities from requiring a special exception, special use permit or any “administrative permit” not required by state law.
Defining these rental properties as Agritourism will severely limit local land use authority and will prevent localities from regulation of these short-term rentals. The bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee where it is likely to be taken up during its meeting on Thursday afternoon, January 26, in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building 30 minutes after adjournment.
VACo Members are urged to contact the Senators on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee to oppose SB 1491.