You can find out more about the proposed bylaw at Town Council meetings, or at the open houses set to take place in January.                                Claire Palmer/Star Photo

You can find out more about the proposed bylaw at Town Council meetings, or at the open houses set to take place in January. Claire Palmer/Star Photo

Proposed bylaw to regulate short term rentals

At last Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, one of the hot topics of discussion was a new zoning bylaw concerning short term rentals.

The new bylaw has been in the works for almost two years now, and is the result of several focus groups and surveys to see how the bylaw can best serve the community.

“We got pretty clear drafting direction from our focus group and our surveys,” said Phil Armstrong. “I think we’ve come up with something that’s pretty close to the direction we were given.”

Based on feedback from the public, the bylaw seeks to move towards a primary occupancy business model. In order to run an AirBnB out of your home, you must be a primary resident in the home.

This means that under the suggested bylaw, there must be at least one permanent resident in the home in order to be eligible for a short term rental licence. It will no longer be permissible to rent out entire homes short-term, unless there is a longer term permanent resident on the property.

“There was a desire that there be a primary resident on site to deal with any kind of noise complaint or whatever may occur,” said Armstrong. “It’s the kind of homebase type business model that were looking at.”

The homebase model with a primary resident is a move away from the originally suggested model of having the homeowner live in the unit. However, this is no longer feasible, as case law has come into affect rendering this kind of bylaw illegal. The move towards the primary resident is the response to this.

“A lot of communities are working on this as well,” said Armstrong. “Calgary is just coming out with theirs, Kelowna did just recently, so it’s something that a lot of communities are grappling with, both big and small.”

The drafted bylaw looks to improve on the pre-existing bed and breakfast regulations that have been in affect since the 70s, and update them for the modern world. With disruptors like AirBnB becoming an expected service to have by the travelling public, Armstrong says it’s important to make sure that Golden’s bylaws are up to date and modernized.

“We want to take a step back and think,’do our regulations work, what do we want to change?’” said Armstrong. “We want to make sure we get the bylaw as right as we can.”

Next up for the drafted bylaw, Armstrong wants to circle back to Town Council, as well as the initial focus groups and the wider public. Open house meetings are scheduled to be held in January, where residents of Golden are invited to come give their input and feedback on the changes to the proposed bylaw.

Residents are encouraged to check the Town’s website and social media for updates on when these meetings will be held.