Council passes amendment to short term rental bylaw in commercial zones

Town council passed an amendment to bylaw no. 1424, concerning short term rentals in commercial zones on Tuesday.

The amendment dealt with the issue of how dwelling units were outlined in the C1, C2 and C3 zones, changing it from an accessory use to a permitted use. Prior to the amendment, dwelling units in commercial zones could only be occupied by those who are associated with the business that occupied the same building. The amendment loosens some of those restrictions.

The applicant for this change are the developers behind the OSO development, which seeks to have two buildings with commercial space on the main floor, and dwelling units above.

“This facilitates the much anticipated OSO development to proceed,” said Phil Armstrong, Manager of Development Service for the Town of Golden. “This includes the developer committing to renting out 30 of the dwelling units as long term rental housing, which there hasn’t been a purpose built rental housing development in the Kootenays of this scale in decades as far as I know.”

The bylaw clearly states that individuals can rent out their individual dwelling units on a short term basis in those particular zones only. A short term rental is defined as the commercial use of a dwelling unit to provide temporary accommodation to the public.

Armstrong anticipates that the bylaw could facilitate other developments in the future, and that it could potentially allow condo owners to sell their properties for higher amounts due to the new uses for the condos.

This amendment will also allow OSO to move forward with their presales.

While the amendment deals with short term rentals, the issue is not at rest yet with council. This amendment deals specifically with commercial zones, rather than residential zones.

“Short term rentals are not allowed in our residential zones currently,” said Armstrong. “What is allowed is a bed and breakfast, so that’s renting out bedrooms, up to three within a principle dwelling unit in a single detached dwelling.”

The town continues to work on short term rental bylaws to regulate their use in residential areas. Council first presented a draft for a short term rentals bylaw in residential areas in November, and continue to work at developing a bylaw that best suits the issue.

“Council is getting bylaw direction to introduce some bylaw changes in residential zones,” said Armstrong. “We’re putting that together in the form of a draft zoning bylaw, and we’re also working on some business regulations to go forward and re-present that package to council and have an open house on that.”

In residential areas, council is moving towards a home-base business model where you need to be a permanent resident in that home to operate a short term rental.

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