Council eyes ‘non-conforming’ B&B

Council eyes ‘non-conforming’ B&B

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Lyonel Doherty
Oliver Chronicle

Senior management for the Town has recommended that council temporarily not enforce the Zoning Bylaw in relation to a short-term rental on Panorama Crescent.

On Monday, council will discuss non- enforcement of the vacation rental known as Absolutely Suite B&B.

Corporate Officer Diane Vaykovich said the proprietor’s application description has been amended from B&B (bed and breakfast) to short-term rental. But a business licence cannot be issued under this new description since short-term rentals are not allowed under the bylaw because it is non-conforming.

The Town plans to obtain public feedback on allowing vacation rentals as a permitted use in low-density residential zones. A report will then be presented to council outlining options on which zones may support these rentals.

Vaykovich said the Town received a complaint about Absolutely Suite regarding its non-compliance with the bylaw as it is being operated as a short-term (vacation) rental as opposed to a B&B.

“The complainant also states that the business creates excessive traffic, noise and frequently blocks their driveway,” Vaykovich said, adding this is the first complaint the Town has received about this business. She also noted that bylaw enforcement has not investigated the complaint because the business is seasonal in nature.

Proprietors Christine and Russell Work told the Chronicle they could not comment because they are unaware of the complaint.

 • Read more: Resident defends vacation rentals in Oliver

In the meantime, council is forging ahead with establishing a new business licence bylaw, looking at how many bed and breakfast operations are operating as short-term rentals.

Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan said council may wish to delay enforcement due to the probability of the business in question already having bookings.

But a complainant who sent a letter to the Chronicle stated that the proprietor in this case was in contravention of the bylaw because they were given a commercial licence to operate a vacation rental in a residential zone.

Why were these licences granted without public notification or consultation? the complainant asked.

“These people were given preferential treatment by the Town to the detriment of all the honest B&B owners and the thousands of unwitting residents.”

But Roger Hall responded to the Chronicle by asking why these necessary short-term rentals are being harassed?

“There are several homes in the area that accommodate many more people than a vacation rental suit would ever include.”

Hall also asked why a fee is charged to these suites when B&Bs are exempt from this financial liability?

In another comment, a resident said it seems that Town council is simply on a “money grab.”

The resident added that the town already has bylaws to govern noise, litter and parking.

“Let’s go, council, we already pay more than enough property tax.”

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