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Following ongoing public consultation, the Township of Lake of Bays is continuing the process of developing a short-term rental (STR) accommodation policy and licensing regime with expected implementation in January 2022.
Staff are proposing three separate categories for STRs: A, B and C, depending on the scale and intensity of the use. The proposed system for regulating STRs would implement higher fees and stricter requirements for STR hosts operating at a higher density and scale.
“Considerations include the number of STRs operated by the same owner, the number of occupants, and the duration of STR utilization over the year and consecutive nights of stay,” according to a report compiled for LOB council by staff.
STRs are only allowed within detached dwellings and according to the proposed bylaw a short-term rental is defined as follows: “A main dwelling or any part thereof that operates or offers a place of temporary residence, lodging or occupancy by way of concession, permit, lease, licence, rental agreement or similar arrangement for 30 consecutive calendar days or less with no on-site management throughout all or part of the year. Short-term rental uses shall not mean or include a bed and breakfast, institutional tourist establishment, tourist establishment, motel, resort, or similar commercial or institutional use.”
The proposed licensing regulations include parking requirements of one off-street parking space per guest room, a code of conduct for renters, and that an STR only be permitted in the main dwelling on a property. It also requires that the main dwelling containing an STR meet the minimum required side yard setback. Other stipulations involve performance standards, licence suspension, administrative penalties, demerit points for violations, and licence revocation stipulations as well as ensuring the dwelling complies with fire code regulations and septic capacity if it is located on a private septic system, and proper disposal of garbage.
The proposed annual licensing fees schedule is as follows:
In the fall/winter of 2021, the Township is expected to contract a full-time STR program coordinator and issue a Request for Proposal for a compliance company to conduct “identification, rental activity monitoring and 24/7 hotline for STRs.”
Lake of Bays Councillor Rick Brooks asked that the public meetings be live-streamed so seasonal residents can participate in future public meetings. Lake of Bays Mayor Terry Glover said when council does return to the council chambers live-streaming will continue.
Councillor George Anderson congratulated staff for the report. He asked for clarification under Class A related to a minimum number of consecutive nights of stay being six. “The reason I feel confused on that is a lot of these one owner Class A short-term rentals would be doing weekends, which wouldn’t give us a minimum number of consecutive nights of stay of six…,” he said.
Township planner April Best-Sararas said the intention behind the minimum number of six days for the Class A category “is that if there were weekend rentals they would have a higher impact potentially than ones that would be a minimum of a week or more. So the intention of that, being Class A, is if there were to be a minimum of a week rental it would have less of an impact on the community and potentially different renters as well,” she said.
Councillor Bob Lacroix said he really liked the idea of a minimum six-day stay under the A category. “I was glad to see that it wasn’t three, as you’ve already explained, that will try and alleviate some of the pressures we’re having with these weekend warriors that come up and just party Friday, Saturday and then leave. So I was glad to see that.”
Councillor Jacqueline Godard questioned the rental fees being proposed. “I would like to see them raised a bit. When I look at them I think Class B… and I take the number of rentals of two [online]businesses I found… between $7,000 and $32,000 a week, and rented more than eight weeks, I think they could probably afford more than $500 and $750, so I thought maybe we could change those rates,” she said, referring to rental classes B and C.
Township director of building and bylaw services Steve Watson told council the rates are based on staff time, “not how much profit a business may make and this is a projection for down the road.” The Township may lose money at the beginning and it may take three or four years to achieve the cost recovery for the implementation of the regulations, “but the fees have to be based on a cost-recover,” he said, adding that council may have to revisit the fees in a year or so.
Best-Sararas also noted that the licensing regime can be adjusted over time based on experience.
Deputy Mayor Nancy Tapley declared a conflict and did not participate in discussions surrounding the regulation of STRs “by reason of employment.”
Click on this link to read staff’s full proposal.
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