Muni prepares to change nightly rental zoning rules – Bylaw and policy amendments visited by council

A map on AirBnB shows rentals available at Sun Peaks.

Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) presented several bylaw and policy changes they will consider in regards to better controlling nightly rentals at a council meeting on Oct. 24.

A moratorium on rezoning properties for nightly rentals was created in July as a response to complaints that they were disrupting residential neighbourhoods will stay in place until the changes have been adopted.

One of the key suggestions was granting Temporary Use Permits (TUP) instead of rezoning a property. As the permits can only be for three years, owners would apply for the first TUP at a cost of $1,500 and any additional permits would be at a reduced rate.

When reviewing applications council would consider criteria that included proximity to the village, ski in and out access and the presence of an on-site manager.

Another suggestion was hiring a full time bylaw officer with the specific responsibility of enforcing bylaws related to short-term rentals at an estimated annual cost between $36,000 and $50,000.

This cost would be covered by increased fees and fines related to nightly rentals including  business licenses which would increase up to $296 for a condo, $395 for a residential multi unit and $495 for a single family residential home.

The municipality also suggested increasing the required bond  from $500 to $1,000, increasing fines for noise violations and creating fees for infractions against the submitted parking or snow storage plans and managers not responding to calls.

Infractions would be more strictly enforced and anyone who received more than three violations in a single year would have their business license suspended for one year. If the license was suspended a second time the TUP  would be pulled and the home would not be eligible for nightly rentals until it changed ownership.

Council also discussed increasing the area near a home to be notified of a potential zoning change or TUP from the current 50 metres to the full street or neighbourhood.

They also reviewed allowing only 20 per cent of homes on a given street to be used as short-term rentals. However some streets are already past that percentage and some councillors expressed concern the rule would give those who move to the street first an unfair advantage.

Emergency contact information for homeowners and property managers would also be posted on the SPMRM website for neighbours to reach out should issues arise.

The changes are to be formally introduced by staff during upcoming council meetings.