An updated bylaw for regulation of short-term rentals (STR) “will likely” be subject to another public hearing, Mayor Bill Beamish said at Gibsons’ Oct. 5 council meeting.
Council affirmed the reordering of its four goals for the bylaw at the meeting, noting that retaining long-term rental housing supply is its top priority.
The group reviewed those goals, which were set in 2018, at a committee meeting on Sept. 28.
Protecting housing for residents moved from fourth to first place.
The second highest level of consideration will be given to the goal of “keeping the scale of business appropriate to residential neighbourhoods.”
The needs of homeowners who wish to have added revenue and providing tourists with accommodation remain as considerations in the bylaw’s development, but will be given lower importance.
The new goal rankings were set based on concerns council members had become aware of in the community and the “housing crisis” documented in the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs assessment. That report was presented to all Coast local governments in the fall of 2020.
Staff will be reviewing, revising, and re-presenting the STR bylaw based on council’s adjusted priorities. That bylaw was given second reading and was the subject of two public hearings last year.
No time frame for when the update will be ready for council or public review was provided. Coun. David Croal said he wanted to see the bylaw adopted in time for licensing of STR businesses in 2022.
Development permit denied
A development permit for a second commercial and residential building at 682 Gibsons Way was denied at the meeting.
The permit application requested the reduction of lot line setbacks. In discussing the item, several council members said those changes could create an unsafe situation for vehicles moving in and out of the site’s parking area. It was noted that if the proposed building complied with the setbacks, vehicles would have at least three metres of visibility when entering and exiting Gibsons Way.
Concerns were also expressed about the of scale the proposed three-storey building and that it could block light from, and the views enjoyed by those living in rental apartments in the existing building on the site.
“I hate to lose 10 more rental units, but some consideration has to be given to people who have lived in the existing building with a view for a number of years,” said Croal.
Beamish noted that the proposed added density is within the allowed uses of the property and that denial of the permit will likely result in an adjusted building plan.
Beamish asked for the reconsideration of a motion adopted at the Sept. 21 council meeting, which he had not attended.
That motion invited a property owner to resubmit an application for a temporary use permit (TUP) for a recreational vehicle park at 718 North Rd. It also waived a $1,500 TUP application fee.
Beamish said that his concern was that the waiver of fees sets a “unfortunate precedent.” The reconsideration motion will be placed on the agenda of a future council meeting.