Council approves two more short-term rentals, vice mayor named and other news from Luray

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Luray Council sewar-in
Members of the Luray Council prevailing in the November election — Alex White, Stephanie Lillard and Ron Vickers — took the oath of office from Clerk of the Court Grayson Markowitz in the circuit courtroom on Dec. 30, 2022.

~ PVN staff report

LURAY, Jan. 9 — In what is becoming a growing trend in the tourist town of Luray, the Town Council held public hearings and approved two more short-term rentals (lodging homes) within corporate limits this week.

The Luray Council unanimously approved a request for a special use permit submitted by John Holtzman to operate a lodging house at 109 Mechanic Street. The area is zoned for High-Density Residential (R-3). There were no speakers during Monday night’s public hearing. The Luray Planning Commission held a public hearing on Dec. 14 and unanimously recommended approval to the council.

The Council also unanimously approved a second request for a special use permit by Valley Corners LLC (multiple owners) to operate a lodging house at 14 Brumback Avenue, which is also zoned for High-Density Residential (R-3). There were no speakers during Monday night’s public hearing. The Luray Planning Commission held a public hearing on Dec. 14 and unanimously recommended approval to the council.

The Town defines a lodging home as “a residential building, other than a hotel, motel or bed-and-breakfast home, where lodging is provided for compensation on a regular basis, pursuant to previous arrangements, but which is not open to the public or transient guests, for no longer than thirty (30) consecutive days.”

All recent approvals of similar special use permits for lodging houses have come with the following conditions:

  • Occupancy of no more than six (6) guests at any one time;
  • Off-street parking is required for all guest vehicles;
  • One identification sign can be permitted on the property not exceeding four square feet on either side;
  • Meals, if provided, shall be served to only guests renting bedrooms in the dwelling;
  • Obtain Town Business License; Transient occupancy tax and meals tax must be collected and remitted to the Town;
  • Special Use Permit shall not transfer upon sale of property or membership interest composition of the holding company.

Other general regulations state that “meals may be provided to the residents in a central location; however, no provisions shall be made for cooking in individual rooms or units. The maximum number of guests shall be two per bedroom with on-site parking for all guests.”

Several council members have expressed concerns about the Town accumulating a high number of short-term rentals, and its potential impacts on the overall residential housing market. For now, some believe that the stipulation that the permits granted by the council do not transfer with the sale of the property could help rein in some concerns. However, as a group, the council expressed a desire to discuss the issue further at an upcoming retreat.

In other business at its Jan. 9 meeting, the Luray Council also took the following actions:

• Unanimously approved Councilman Ron Vickers, the longest-tenured member of the Council, as the next vice mayor of Luray. The position was formerly held by Jerry Schiro, who stepped down from the council at the end of his final four-year term in December. In the simplest terms, the vice mayor steps in and assumes the duties of the mayor in his absence.

• Unanimously approved a recommendation from the Luray Planning Commission for a special permit for signs erected by D.R. Horton Homes, but only for on-site signage at the townhomes behind Walmart. Both the planning commission and the council agreed that D.R. Horton should remove all off-site signage, as it violates the Town’s extensive sign ordinance. The home builder erected a number of signs with permission of other property owners, but without meeting various regulations within the sign ordinance. There were no speakers at the public hearing held prior to the vote, and D.R. Horton had no representatives present. The approval of on-site signage came with several stipulations, including ongoing maintenance of the signs and a one-year expiration on the permit or when 80 percent of the subject parcels have been conveyed to new owners.

• Unanimously approved the recommendation of Kelly Levy to serve on Luray’s Board of Zoning Appeals to the Page County Circuit Court, which holds final approval. Levy fills the position vacated by Richard Lawrence.

• Unanimously approved an adjustment of the minimum part-time salary for the Town to $12 an hour to comply with the Virginia Minimum Wage Act, which establishes the new rate effective Jan. 1, 2023. The vote was specifically to amend the FY 22-23 Salary Plan to increase the minimum rate for part-time employees.

• Unanimously approved authorization for the Town to participate in the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program established by the Virginia Department of Social Services and administered through a group called Promise. The non-profit agency will assist eligible Town utility customers experiencing financial difficulties with past due utility bills. Federal funding for the program is channeled through the state and provided on a first-come, first-served basis of up to $2,500 per household.

• Unanimously approved the use of $45,000 in ARPA funds for the update of construction plans and permits for the construction of recreational courts at Ralph Dean Park and the inspection of constructed improvements by Racey Engineering.

• Heard a report from Luray Downtown Initiative Program Director Jackie Elliott that downtown businesses reported a strong holiday season; Watch and Warrant restaurant is preparing for a Jan. 20 opening; the New Year’s Eve event was cancelled due to weather; the LDI office has received three calls recently from individuals looking for a place to do business downtown; efforts are being made to expand the LDI “downtown” area on both the western (first) and eastern fronts; and Mardi Gras activities are planned for Saturday, Feb. 25.

For more information about the Town of Luray, visit



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  1. And to think we fought the Taliban for all those years in Afghanistan, only for some to adopt their practices here..

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