By David F. Rooney
Revelstoke’s rules on vacation rentals are not as tough as they should be and neither are they very well enforced, intervenors said at a public hearing on two vacation rental applications last week.
City residents who live near one house at 2297 Airport Way had many negative comments on the proposal by John and Heather Pallas. (Please click here to read the meeting agenda that contains all relevant documents, including all of the written comments to Council.)
“We ask City Council to come up with a definite plan for vacation properties and not to allow vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods where the landlord does not live on site,” Jane McNab said at the hearing. “Canmore started off like Revelstoke allowing vacation rentals throughout the community but they eventually changed the zoning and so many rentals were no longer allowed to be rented — this affected many property owners however it re-established the sense of community.
“We live on a street of 14 houses — 3 are now BnB or vacation rentals, one is a ‘black window’ property and another one will soon be ” black window.” So where is the community? This is happening throughout Revelstoke.”
The term Vacation Rental means the licensed use of a residential single detached dwelling or a licensed secondary suite as temporary lodging (less than 30 days at any one time) for paying guests.
Vacation rental use is restricted to a total of no more than 120 days per calendar year. The maximum occupancy shall be calculated based on two adults per licensed bedroom with a total maximum occupancy of eight people. No signage shall be permitted. The property owner is to provide a contact number for themselves or a representative located within the City and available 24 hours a day. The contact number is to appear on the Business License posted in the Vacation rental unit.
Vacation rental parking requirement is one parking space per licensed bedroom within the vacation rental unit up to a maximum of four parking spaces. No more than two parking spaces are permitted within the front yard area. The property owner is to request that vacation rental guests park all vehicles within the allocated parking areas on the property.
The annual Business License fee for Vacation Rental units is $200 plus $5 per licensed
bedroom. The owner would require a Business License, which would require an inspection of the subject property by the Fire Department and the Chief Building Official as a part of the Business License Application review process
Tighter rules accompanied by hefty fines for transgressors are necessary to control the growth in vacation rentals. McNab said she combed through several websites and found listings for 183 properties in and around Revelstoke with 40 of them in the CSRD. The average price was $500/night.
One new resident, Brian Tobin, said he and his wife put their life’s savings into a property here in town and have been dismayed by the growth of vacation rentals.
Enforcement of the rules around vacation rentals is likely a major part of the problem. Who do you call if the guests at a vacation rental are parking all over the place or holding a wild and raucous party? At least one citizen said he had called the bylaw enforcement officer only to find he could only leave a voicemail message. Councillor Trevor English noted that changes to bylaw enforcement schedules should mean that people will be able to contact enforcement officers during the evening.