Revelstoke council approves three of five vacation rentals

City council has OK’d three vacation rentals, with approval of a fourth pending a newly proposed zoning bylaw amendment.

City council has OK’d three vacation rentals, with approval of a fourth pending a newly proposed zoning bylaw amendment.

At its regular meeting last Tuesday, Nov. 8, Revelstoke council sat through five back-to-back public hearings, all related to proposed residential vacation rentals. In subsequent voting, only one was turned down outright.

Later in the same meeting, council gave first and second reading to two new zoning applications for residential vacation rentals, which will proceed to public hearings.

The first of these hearings was for a rezoning application, from R1 Single Family Residential District to R1V Single Family Residential Vacation District, for property at 1655 Melnyk Rd. The applicant’s intent is to turn their one bedroom secondary suite into a vacation rental.

After the hearing, council voted against third reading for the application. They were not opposed to the application itself, however, but to how the related bylaw allows for the whole residence to become a vacation rental a possibility of concern for its neighbours.

During the hearing, Melnyk Rd. resident Bernard Ehmann expressed his opposition to the application. During his presentation to council, Ehmann detailed how he and other residents have lived in the neighbourhood for a long time, and he questioned the impact the vacation rental could have, especially if, under a different owner, it were to become the entire home.

“If you were to look for a property for your family, would you want to consider a place beside a vacation rental?” Ehmann asked council.

Speaking for the applicants, Jill Temple said they intend to make the home their long-term primary residence, that they would never rent the suite while they’re away and they would carefully vet who they rent to.

Coun. Linda Nixon, who lives in the neighbourhood, commented on how making land use decisions for vacation rentals had finally come home to roost for her. She suggested if the motion to approve fails, “staff come back to council in timely fashion with categories for vacation houses and vacation suites,” and that council bring the application back on their own initiative.

Engineering and development services manager Dean Strachan said the city could amend the zoning bylaw and then apply it to this application and other existing vacation rental properties.

Coun. Gary Sulz said he was concerned with losing suites from the city’s rental market.

After voting against third reading, council supported a motion to amend the zoning bylaw to create the two suggested categories of vacation rental.

Council opposed an application to rezone a property at 1780 Illecillewaet Rd. to accommodate a vacation rental. This decision followed a separate hearing, during which it was revealed the current renter would be displaced if the application were approved.

The third hearing related to a property at 1657 Mason Rd., and a residence being designed to include a vacation rental suite. It was noted this is a new build and would not take anything away from the rental market.

Coun. Linda Nixon argued council should still treat it as it did the Melnyk Rd. property, but Coun. Aaron Orlando said he voted as he did on that because there was significant opposition from the neighbours.

This application was supported, with Orlando, Sulz and Coun. Trevor English in favour, while Nixon was opposed (Coun. Connie Brothers declared a conflict of interest and did not vote).

Hearings for the remaining two rezoning applications were for proposed full-home vacation rentals at 410 Cedar St. and 221 Second St. East. Council supported both (Coun Scott Duke declared a conflict of interest over the Cedar St. property which he owns).

The two new applications for proposed vacation rentals are for properties at 424 Third St. and 2101 Mary Hansen Place.