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Parking minimums, ADUs, and Airbnbs — your guide to new zoning ordinances

The city grouped three proposed zoning changes together in August 2022 — here’s what has changed since then and what it means for Richmonders

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City Council approved ADU and STR ordinances at its meeting on Monday.

Table of Contents

Back in August 2022, the city’s Dept. of Planning and Development Review set its sights on three proposed zoning changes. As of City Council’s meeting on Monday, Sept. 25, all have been addressed to some extent. Here’s a rundown of the changes.

🚗 Parking minimums

The first of the changes to be addressed by Council, Richmond removed parking minimums for new developments in April. Proponents of the change said it would make development less costly and open up more land for housing.

In passing the resolution, Richmond joins cities including Roanoke, Raleigh, and Wilmington, NC as municipalities that have eliminated parking minimums citywide.

🔨 Accessory dwelling units

Richmond homeowners can now build one accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their single-family plot by-right, as of Monday’s meeting. This form of secondary housing should include a sleeping area, kitchen, and bathroom. Typically referred to as a “mother-in-law suite,” they can be located as a detached build, a renovated interior, a converted garage, or other structure.

The change means that homeowners will no longer have to seek permission to build one ADU on their property.

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Short-term rentals tend to be clustered in certain neighborhoods around Richmond.

Screenshot via city documents

🧳 Short-term rentals

Council also passed a resolution on short-term rental (STR) regulations on Monday. STRs — think Airbnbs and other places you might stay for fewer than 30 days — will now operate under stricter guidelines.

The resolution maintains the primary residency requirement for STR operators in residential zoning districts, but eliminates it for those in non-residential ones. That means in neighborhoods like most of the Fan, the Museum District, and Church Hill, STR operators will need to live on the property for a minimum of 185 days a year. It also places restrictions on the number of STRs that can operate per lot.

At the meeting where it recommended passing the ordinance, the Planning Commission also discussed how to increase enforcement of new regulations in the future.