Property managers pen letter to council

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Public meeting on short-term rentals on Dec. 15

Recent and proposed changes to the community’s short-term rental bylaws and rezoning process have two property management business owners concerned for their clients and for the future of the resort.

Business owners A Cage of Top of the Mountain Accommodations (TOTM) and Reiner Brecht of Bear Country Property Management co-authored a letter submitted to Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipal (SPMRM) council on Dec. 1 prior to an upcoming public meeting on short-term rentals later this week. The letter was also sent to their clients as well as to local media and is posted online here.

While the 25 page document outlines several concerns, their main point of contention is council enacting any changes that limit the available inventory of short-term rentals, such as capping or limiting the number of single family homes which can be legally rezoned as tourist accommodation or enforcing residential zoning in strata properties which have previously flown under the radar.

“They made a knee jerk reaction to noise complaints this summer and blocked owners who are looking at renting their homes this season. So right now we have less inventory than we would have because they put a moratorium on all spot zoned homes,” said Cage.

A moratorium on rezoning properties to tourist accommodation was enacted this summer and was lifted at the beginning of December while SPMRM worked on updating the process in response to resident complaints regarding noise and other problems related to short-term rentals. There is no official count on the number of properties affected by the moratorium. 

Properly zoning and enforcing zoning in the resort has a history dating back to before the municipality was incorporated in 2010. Friday’s meeting will be the second public meeting on the subject this year.

Limiting inventory, according to Cage, has a domino effect of negative consequences including reducing revenue, increasing prices, artificially increasing tourist zoned property values, forcing owners to sell or limit their own use of residential zoned properties and encouraging people to rent without following the rules.

“I don’t think that reducing the potential inventory at Sun Peaks is a good decision, a wise decision or one that has any long-term benefit,” he said.  

According to SPMRM documents provided in the letter, there were 30 recorded noise complaints since the beginning of 2015. TOTM took 3,800 booking in the same time period resulting in two of the formal complaints.

“The numbers don’t add up to a real problem. It’s clearly an issue of management,” said Cage, who said he feels that short-term rentals have been vilified and it’s actually an issue of poorly managed properties, whether they are rented short or long-term.

The letter also suggested property developments with strata councils self govern regarding the issue of short-term rentals.

This year McGillivrary Creek’s AGM failed to pass motion to block short-term rentals while Sun Mountain Villas carried a similar motion.

Cage said he hoped interested parties will attend the upcoming public meeting and voice their concerns.

“We want to make sure that dialogue is intelligent and fair and that it’s not a knee jerk reaction.”

SPIN will broadcast the public meeting on www.Facebook.com/SunPeaksNews at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15.

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