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Northumberland County to require a conditional use permit for some STRs

HEATHSVILLE—It has been a long, sometimes contentious six months as some residents have sought more regulation over short-term rentals (STRs) while operators questioned why they are being regulated when they are being responsible hosts.

Following a public hearing on Thursday, May 11, the board of supervisors voted 5-0 to add a conditional use permit (CUP) requirement for vacation home rentals in the residential restricted (R3) district. This change comes just as vacation rentals are gearing up for the busy summer months, possibly leaving vacationers scrambling for other accommodations since this would affect existing rentals as well.

R3 allows for high-density development on lots recorded prior to 1974, including Chesapeake Beach Estates, Fleeton Beach and Pine Point. Previously, county planner Stuart McKenzie had said R3 zoning accounts for .23 square miles total and just .12% of the total county.

The hearing was filled with familiar arguments on both sides….

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