Dogs at Pleasant Grove, new short-term rental ordinance, fill short supervisors’ meeting

By Heather Michon

Dogs running off-leash at Pleasant Grove and other county properties has resulted in several biting incidents in recent years and has led some residents to tell park officials they feel unsafe on trails and playing fields. 

“This has been getting progressively worse since Covid,” Parks & Rec director Aaron Spitzer told the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday evening (Nov. 15). More residents have been using the park since the start of the pandemic, increasing the opportunities for dog-human interactions.

County policy prohibits off-leash dogs outside a few designated areas in Pleasant Grove, but the policy has been hard to enforce. Spitzer, along with County Attorney Daniel Whitten and the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) suggests adding provisions to the dog control ordinance passed by supervisors in September.

Under the proposed ordinance, dogs would be required to be on-leash at all times in most of Pleasant Grove. The Dog Park and the 2.8 miles of trails in that vicinity would be leash-free, with a sign at the intersection of Rock Brook Trail and the Heritage Trail alerting owners that dogs must be leashed past that point. 

Violators could face fines of $25 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses.

Spitzer and FCSO animal control Deputy Virginia Strong stressed that fining people was not the goal of the ordnance. That would be a last resort.

“We want to educate people,” said Spitzer. 

But, said Strong, “we need to figure out something to prevent a major catastrophe happening.”

The text of the ordinance will be finalized in the coming weeks and will go up for a public hearing and via at the board’s second meeting in January.

Short term rentals

Just weeks after passing a transient occupancy tax for short-term rentals, supervisors heard a presentation on other changes to the county ordinances to clarify the rules and regulations around these types of businesses.

Current ordinances limit single-occupancy dwellings to renting out no more than 25 percent of their living space, harkening back to an era when families might rent rooms to boarders.

Under an ordinance change proposed by Whitten, whole-house rentals would be a by-right use in areas zoned A-1, R-1, R-2, R-3, and R-4. This would mean short-term rental operators would not have to apply for special-use permits to open a rental property.

The ordinance would also require short-term rentals to follow all state health regulations, ensure renters were aware of the county noise ordinance and outdoor firepit and fireworks regulations, and require each home to contain fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors.

To comply with the new transient occupancy tax, owners would also have to register with the commissioner of the revenue.

HOAs like Lake Monticello, which prohibits short-term rentals in its covenants and bylaws, would likely be untouched by these new ordinances. Language around that issue still needs to be finalized before the ordinance goes up for a public hearing in mid-January.


Wednesday’s meeting was short and to the point, with no action matters, new items, or unfinished business on the agenda.

The only issue up for a vote was the appointment of a Fluvanna citizen representative on the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC). Nine residents, including current representative Keith Smith, applied for the spot, with each candidate including a thick resume to support their candidacy.

Smith, who has held the position for 12 years, was unanimously reappointed for another three-year term. 

Supervisor Mike Sheridan (Columbia) noted how impressive the candidate pools for these county and regional commissions have become in recent years. “I remember back to when we were calling around to get people to sign up for these things. And now we get to read a book about everybody,” he said. “That’s the best part about it.”

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138