First reading of another proposed change to zoning conditions for short term rentals (aka residential guest accommodation or RGA) is slated to be on the July 4 council meeting agenda, according to town communications manager Bronwyn Kent.
That action follows elected officials' endorsement of a plan to waive a public hearing on the matter at the June 6 council meeting. The bylaw amendment would allow residents to rent their homes as RGAs for three selected months in a calendar year, rather than three consecutive months as stipulated in the current rules.
To legally proceed without a public hearing, the town will notify residents that they intend to use that option. After such notification, council could consider providing three readings of the bylaw on the date it is introduced. Before adoption can be considered, the amendment needs approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
In early 2023, Mayor Silas White suggested that the bylaw be adjusted to allow for greater rental time frame flexibility after receiving input from affected property owners. At the meeting he stated given those discussions, there was awareness in the community of council’s interest in considering a “move in that direction." He noted that if the change is endorsed, those applying for such approval would be required to identify specific months they wish to rent a home as an RGA.
In a report considered at the meeting, staff wrote, “The three consecutive months regulation was set in the zoning bylaw to ensure the bylaw could be enforced if a complaint was received. Relaxing this regulation to any three months in a calendar year is still enforceable."
Keeping residents informed
Coun. Annemarie DeAndrade supported the decision with the caveat that public information about the process was included in the municipal newsletter and in other communications.
This is the second proposed change to RGA legislation since the rules were put in place in 2022. In May, council amended the bylaw to remove zoning and licencing requirements for existing RGA units to undergo building inspections, except in cases where a property has ongoing bylaw non-compliance issues that are considered unsafe.