Airbnb is out of place in Lakewood

The Virginia Gazette

My wife and I have lived in Lakewood since 1979; we live next door to 100 Lake Drive, whose current occupants have requested James City County to allow them to rent up to three rooms on a short-time basis (a few days at a time, they indicate). The Planning Commission turned down their request, but it still goes before the Board of Supervisors.

We are strongly opposed to the petition that would allow for the commercialization of our residential community. The reasons can be stated in almost outline form: they are clear and compelling.

1. It is in violation of the Lakewood Covenants, which went into effect in 1963. The first clause of the Covenants reads: "That the property shall be used for residential purposes only." Residential, not commercial purposes. The covenants have been honored for over 50 years, out of sentiment, tradition, and mutual interest in the kind of community those who lived in Lakewood wanted it to be.

2. To grant the request made by the owners of 100 Lake Drive would set a precedent that would open the door to other homeowners to also rent out rooms, which if even a few did, would change the nature and quality of life in Lakewood. Additionally, property values could be affected for the entire neighborhood, not only for residences next to those renting rooms.

3. In the present case, there is inadequate parking for the up to six nightly commercial guests, requiring cars to be parked along Lake Drive in a dangerous area.

4. With three double rooms available, that means possibly six persons per night, 42 in a week, and over the course of 52 weeks, some 2100 commercial guests in a development that is zoned residential community of fewer than 40 homes.

How would you feel about this if it were your community?

Roger and Martha Smith

James City County

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