There will be restrictions on vacation rentals in the proposed Mackenzie Landing development on Nichol Road, but they will only cover a small number of the proposed units being built.
Council supported an agreement that would restrict vacation rentals in the parts of the proposed 35-acre development that immediately border existing single-family neighbourhoods. In those zones, vacation rentals will only be allowed in five per cent of homes.
Dean Strachan, the manager of development services, said the move would affect only about 70 properties in the proposed 1,200-unit development, but that it would create a buffer zone between the bulk of the development and the surrounding neighbourhood.
The five per cent number matches the approximate prevalence of vacation rentals in the area, he said. It was derived after negotiations with developer David Evans.
Strachan said that this development would be different than the larger community, in that owners would buy in, knowing vacation rentals were allowed. There would also be various strata corporations set up to govern the development, and all bookings would be done out of a central office.
He warned council that any further restrictions would need to be agreed to by the developer.
“We would need to go back to the property owner to get their authorization,” Strachan said. “If he did not agree, it would trigger a new public hearing.”
The restriction was put in as response to feedback received at a public hearing in March, but some councillors felt it wasn’t enough.
“Fundamentally, what I see before me sidesteps the request that came to council at the public hearing for restrictions on vacation rentals,” said councillor Aaron Orlando. “At this point I would prefer further restrictions and options be discussed with the developer about that. I’m not saying any number, but there’s no assurance that this couldn’t essentially turn into a hotel development.”
Coun. Linda Nixon also supported exploring further restrictions, saying “I’m a little concerned we’re not planning for eight year olds to 80 year olds.”
Mayor Mark McKee supported the restrictions.
“I think one of the advantages of putting the vacation rentals in the centre is unlike the process we’re going through in the community, if you’re buying in, you know you’re in a vacation rental neighbourhood,” he said. “Having other levels of policing, I think it’s going to be a lot different scenario than what is happening in other parts of the community.”
Coun. Gary Sulz sided with the mayor, saying he feared that with increased limits, “we’ll see this whole development go down the toilet.”
In the end, council passed a motion that supported the five per cent limit on the perimetre of the property, while asking staff to explore further restrictions with the developer.
The developer and the city are still working on a master development agreement for the property.