Residents in Virginia and Massachusetts Speak Out About Timeshare

Lawmakers to rethink development of timeshares—Virginia community says “no” while Massachusetts town opens the door to developers.

On January 9, 2006, we told you about a controversy in Amherst County, Virginia over what appeared to be a single-family home. Area residents later learned the new construction, Pedlar Camp, was being sold in four-week blocks of fractional ownership. “No Timeshares Here!” read the signs posted in homeowners’ yards along the winding road up Banks Mountain, as area Virginians quickly made their opinions known to both developers and lawmakers. 

The result of community outcry was the February 22 decision by the Amherst County Board of Supervisors and County Planning Commission to implement an ordinance prohibiting the construction of timeshare properties in areas zoned as agricultural residential.

Pedlar Camp, with its potential twelve co-owners, was—per the ordinance—deemed to remain because its permits were issued before the implementation of the new ruling. The commission nixed all other planned fractional ownership vacation homes and timeshares, despite the position by developers that tourists would help boost the local economy.

But Pedlar Camp, it seems, was caught in a loophole.  While it could remain as timeshare property, the developers wouldn’t actually be able to use it as such. It seems that Pedlar Camp was not registered with the state as a timeshare before the ordinance passed and once the ordinance was in place, the registration application was denied. At least for now, if you want to vacation in this  particular nook of the Blue Ridge Mountains you can’t do it in a timeshare.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts residents have found themselves engaged in a similar battle. Pittsfield lawmakers, developers, and residents are united in their desire to shore-up a struggling local economy, but a proposed timeshare in Ponterril has become a point of controversy

For the present, already congested areas of the city will not be further built-out with timeshares, based on recent actions by the mayor and the city council to drop a provision that would have permitted their construction. But other areas (those zoned as R-43) will permit timeshare properties, recognizing that in so doing, they will be building the local tax revenue base and potentially holding property tax increases at bay for everyone.