Bridgewater may adjust short-term rental rules, changes for motorized scooters

BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) — There could soon be some new rules for short-term rental services, like Airbnb, in Bridgewater.

Harrisonburg is currently looking at changing laws regarding motorized scooters.

The town is looking at regulating the services to prevent possible problems in the future.

"If there's a short-term rental that's been a problem in the neighborhood, we can go in and revoke their permit and not allow them to have one anymore," Alex Wilmer, the assistant town manager of Bridgewater, said.

Bridgewater already has a few short-term rentals in town. They have not yet caused any problems, according to Wilmer.

Town officials say the goal is not to discourage short-term rentals from doing business, but to be prepared.

"I think we are benefited from having them in town," Wilmer said. "Certainly, anyone visiting town stays in one, comes out, shops in Bridgewater, dines in Bridgewater, so I think there's value in them so long as they're operated correctly and properly."

The town could pass an ordinance in about a month that will regulate the rentals should there be problems, like repeated trash or noise complaints.

Bridgewater has also made progress in addressing motorized scooters. On Tuesday, town council changed ordinances in response to some negative feedback in Harrisonburg over Bird and Lime scooters.

As the scooters gain popularity across the country, Bridgewater wanted to be prepared in case they ever land in the town, though none are there yet.

"We're not necessarily opposed against scooters," Wilmer said. "But we are concerned about scooters or other objects being left on public sidewalks because that is a safety hazard. It restricts pedestrian access to different things along Main Street."

Wilmer said if Bridgewater ever gets the motorized scooters, the town will aim to keep them in centralized locations rather than scattered around different sidewalks, like has caused problems in Harrisonburg.