A senior staff member with the Town of Oliver has recommended that council amend its zoning bylaw to permit vacation rentals in the community.
Director of development services Randy Houle will present a report on the issue on Monday.
Houle said short-term rentals are an important form of tourist accommodation and have allowed homeowners to generate revenue to offset property costs.
But he also noted these rentals have prompted concerns and complaints, such as creating conflicts in residential neighbourhoods via noise, parking congestion and unsightliness.
Houle said 15 (54 per cent) of the vacation rentals listed in Oliver have a business licence. Sixteen are listed as secondary suites, but it is unknown how many are legal. As of Aug. 1, 28 short-term rentals were being advertised on Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.
In May, the Town launched a survey to solicit feedback on vacation rentals. A total of 173 “mixed” responses were received.
Responses in support included:
Several exist in neighbourhoods already and you can hardly tell they are there.
Hosts and renters are rated on various websites.
Creates a unique tourist offering.
Allows guests to shop locally.
Helps with the mortgage.
Many units would sit vacant if not allowed to rent out in the short term.
Some owners are not on site to deal with problems or concerns.
Increase in traffic and on-street parking.
Creates extra garbage.
Commercializes residential neighbourhoods.
Takes long-term rentals off the market.
Creates uneven playing field for hotels.
Some suggestions include:
Allow in principal residences only.
Limit the number of guests.
Ensure adequate parking.
Ensure proper taxation.
Ensure hosts deal with noise complaints appropriately.
Maximum of one rental suite per property.
Houle recommended limiting the total occupancy of vacation rentals to two per bedroom to a maximum of six.
He also recommended amendments to the business licence bylaw, including the removal of the $750 deposit for enforcement costs . . . only if vacation rentals are operated by an owner with a principal residence on site. He noted that owners should be able to manage nuisance activities without bylaw enforcement.
Houle also recommended that the business licence fee for vacation rentals be higher than the home occupation fee of $75. He stated the proposed fee of $200 is on par with a hotel or motel licence fee and creates a more even playing field.