Planning department explores commercial zoning for part of Arrow Heights

The City of Revelstoke’s planning department is exploring the possibility of creating a new commercial zone to allow short-term rentals.

The City of Revelstoke’s planning department is exploring the possibility of creating a new commercial zone in a portion of Arrow Heights that would allow for commercial rentals, including overnight or weekly rentals.

City planning director John Guenther told the city’s planning and bylaw advisory committee of the concept on Jan. 19. No paperwork was presented; Guenther said the idea would work its way through a city process in the near future.

The idea is to amend the city’s Official Community Plan to allow the commercial zones in Revelstoke. The changes would then be spelled out in the Unified Development Bylaw. The process would involve a public hearing on the change.

Although no specific boundaries were presented, Guenther discussed portions of Nichol Road and on Camozzi Road near Joe Kozek Sawmills.

“I think in some cases it actually adds value to how people pay for things,” Guenther told the committee. “It adds value to the property.” Guenther said there would be concerns that the change would affect the residential nature of the neighbourhood.

Under zoning rules, rentals of less than a month are not permitted in residential neighbourhoods. The new commercial zoning would allow for anything under a month, including weekly or nightly rentals.

Some committee members expressed support, saying there was a demand for house rentals for larger parties of tourists visiting Revelstoke.

Guenther also told the committee that a report on illegal rentals in residential neighbourhoods is expected at council in February. Guenther said the city is currently targeting 17 illegal rentals in Revelstoke that are on a tracking system. They’ve been flagged due to complaints or other reasons. “There’s also surfing the web, too,” said Guenther of the city’s methods of finding those who violate zoning bylaws.

Last year, the city revised its system for tracking and enforcing illegal rentals. The February report will be council’s first chance to see how it is working.