Council approved one more vacation rental, declined one and deferred two others at their meeting last week.
The first application to go before them was for 914 First St. West. Anthony and Lana Volpatti applied for the re-zoning, with the intent of renting out their one bedroom suite as a vacation rental. There were no public comments on the application and it was approved unanimously.
The second application was for 1060 McCarty Cr., a street where neighbours opposed previous vacation rental applications. Cory and Rebecca Peck applied to re-zone their secondary suite as a vacation rental. Rebecca told council the rental would allow them to make extra money and let her work from home and take care of their children.
Their neighbours came out in force to block the application, with nine writing letters of opposition, and several speaking at the hearing. Four neighbours wrote letters of support.
The issues were familiar — they’ll decrease safety and hurt the quality of life. Most significantly, the neighbours expressed concerns about the permanency of the zoning and the fact the Peck’s could sell their home to someone who wouldn’t live on site.
“We are opposed to any vacation rental wherein the homeowner is not present when the guests are on sight,” said Cathy East.
Council chose to defer the application until the vacation rental bylaw is amended to create separate zoning for whole-home and secondary suite application.
“I think this is a vacation rental we want to see,” said councillor Connie Brothers. “This is a good one, but on the understanding it’s just for a secondary suite.”
Council made the same decision for the application for 1789 Hay Road. The home has been operating as a bed & breakfast, but owner Kirk Murray said it was increasingly difficult for him to provide breakfast, so he wanted to re-zone it as a vacation rental. It was also deferred until the new regulations are brought in.
The final one on the agenda was for 1921 Aspen Crescent. Council rejected it after the neighbours came out and said they didn’t want more vacation rentals in the area, and expressed concerns about absentee owners.
“This property is a whole house and it’s an absentee owner,” said neighbour Holly Rosenberger. “There’s very little sign of life other than the photos of the enormous sled trailers blocking the driveway and the roads.”
Council will continue to look at vacation rental applications until the cap of 125 rooms is reached. Four more are on the agenda for next week — 305 Fourth St. East, 273 Pearkes Dr., 1065 McCarty Cr., and 1115 Montana Pl.
Meanwhile, city staff is working on amendments to the regulations, but those are not expected to go to council until March and likely won’t be in place until May, said assistant planner Chris Selvig.