At a brief midsummer meeting Monday (Aug. 13), the Washington Town Council unanimously passed a new peer-to-peer ordinance governing Airbnb-type rentals in town, a measure the council has been working on for more than a year.
Addressed in many council discussion sessions and a public hearing last month, the ordinance was adopted with little comment from the council — and none from the public.
Similarly without fanfare, the council adopted a series of resolutions officially permitting the Inn at Little Washington to hold its Sept. 2 “Innstock” fall festival, celebrating the Inn’s 40th anniversary with gourmet dishes by the Inn and some two dozen of its alumni chefs.
There are also fireworks, balloon rides, live music and more planned on the Inn’s 20-acre meadow at the foot of Middle Street on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Council member and Inn proprietor Patrick O’Connell recused himself for the voting, which was otherwise unanimous.
Town residents will be admitted free to the event, which costs $250 per person and which is expected to draw 800 to 1,000 attendees. Parking will be at the Rappahannock County Park on U.S. 211 and at the Washington fire hall, with continuous shuttle service.
Mayor John Sullivan reported that he’d been told VDOT’s planned street repaving project in town has been delayed, mostly by rain, to late August or early September — although he said he reminded VDOT officials that Labor Day weekend might not be the best time to begin the project, what with the town’s population expected to rise exponentially for the weekend.
He also said the town is “waiting, day by day,” for a decision by the U.S. Postal Service on the new location for a post office. Of the three candidate properties, he said, only one is in town — the 2500-square-foot building that currently houses Dr. Jerry Martin’s offices on Gay Street — and two are on U.S. 211 near the Union Bank & Trust, including a building Sullivan said Jimmie DeBergh has offered to put up on property next to the bank, and an existing building across the highway owned by Jay Miller.
Sullivan praised realtor Butch Zindel, representing the Gay Street property, for “the incredible amount of work he’s done” to keep the post office in town; a letter from Sullivan listing the reasons not to move the post office nearly two miles from its biggest customers (including the county offices) was included in the documents available at the council meeting.