Update: 2:16 p/m. May 6:
Kelowna city council is sending the issue of extending short-term accommodation rentals back to the public for input.
After hearing city staff support extending the current city bylaw that allows short-term rentals in residences in certain parts of the city to secondary suites and carriage houses across the city, council voted to send the issue to a public hearing May 21.Following the public haring, council will vote on whether to approve the bylaw ammendment that would allow the expansion of short-term accommodation rules.
While some on council, including Mayor Colin Basran and Coun. Gail Given expressed concern about the impact of allowing short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage house will have on the exisisting stock of long-term rentals in the city, both said they wanted to hear what the public has to say.
Earlier in the presentation, council was told adding secondary uit and carriage houses mirrors what most of those who attended an earlier pubic hearing on the issue said they wanted to see. The earlier public hearing lead to the current bylaw that allows short-term rentals in the city.
Under the proposed rules, the rental operator must live in the main residence on the property, only one short-term rental operation would be allowed per property and a maximum of two bedrooms could be used for short-term rentals in a secondary suites or a carriage houses. One parking space would also have to be provided for the short-term renters.
Kelowna city planning staff say short-term rentals should be allowed in carriage houses and secondary suites, but only with conditions.
In a report to go to city council Monday, staff say short-term rentals should only be allowed in those types units if the rental operator either lives in the main house on the site or is a tenant of the secondary suite or carriage house.
Staff also say only one short-term rental operation should be allowed per property and a maximum of two bedrooms can be used for short-term rentals in a secondary suites or a carriage houses. One parking space would also have to be provided for the short-term renters.
The recommendations come after council asked staff to review the original recommendation not to allow short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage houses in Kelowna.
Last month, council approved a series of bylaws regulating where, and under what conditions, short-term rentals such as Airbnb, can operate in Kelowna.
Following a length public hearing, council asked staff to take another look at allowing them in secondary suites and carriage houses.
“These regulations will help to ensure that short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage houses act as good neighbours by limiting the scale of this use in residential neighbourhoods,” says the staff report. “They are generally consistent with those already in place for short-term rentals in single, two, or multi-unit residential buildings.”
But the recommendation also came with a warning.
“Secondary suites and carriage houses are an integral part of Kelowna’s secondary market,” says the staff report. “Allowing short-term rentals in these units is expected to remove units from the long-term rental housing market, putting added pressure on purpose-built rentals and other forms of rental housing.”
Up to the start of last fall, Kelowna had one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country at just 0.2 per cent. With the construction of a number of purpose built apartment buildings across the city in recent months, that rate has jumped to around two per cent.
City planning staff say the city’s Healthy Housing Strategy identifies a need to promote and protect rental housing, and taking action on those recommendation is important to support a more stable rental housing market.
The issue of allowing short-term rentals in secondary suites and carriage house in the city will be discussed by council at its regular meeting Monday afternoon.
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