Cumberland has adopted its amended zoning bylaw to cover short-term vacation rentals. (Pixabay)

Cumberland has adopted its amended zoning bylaw to cover short-term vacation rentals. (Pixabay)

Cumberland adopts short-term vacation rental bylaw

“This is a big item off our plate.”

Cumberland has finalized a bylaw to provide some control over short-term vacation rentals.

The community has been trying to find a balance between providing vacation accommodations and more affordable housing. The process included holding online surveys and public workshops early in the year to gather ideas for regulations.

There was also a public hearing on July 6 prior to the bylaw, as well as one to amend the business licence bylaw, coming back to council.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland’s vacation rental policy goes to public hearing

Council passed third reading and adopted the zoning amendment bylaw, with a minor wording change, at the Aug. 8 meeting.

“This is a big item off our plate,” Mayor Leslie Baird said following the vote.

Staff noted there were still some concerns raised at the public hearing in July, most notably over provisions requiring signs on homes that are being used for short-term vacation rentals to identify the business.

Coun. Sean Sullivan said he too shared some of the concerns about the signs, including the effect on the overall area.

“I feel like if you have signs everywhere, it makes it less ‘neighbourhoody,’” he said.

He raised questions about the size parameters for signs. Staff responded that these are set out in the bylaw.

Another issue around the signs was whether marking homes with signs might result in security issues. Staff responded that the sign would provide contact information allowing neighbours to respond in the event of an emergency.

Coun. Jesse Ketler also pointed to the residency requirement for someone to be on site as a means to deal with any security matters, even if no one renting.

“It’s not a completely vacant property,” she said.

Other matters raised during the public hearing surrounded parking requirements and whether children would be counted when it comes to guest number limits.

As far as parking issues, this could be dealt with through a variance request if necessary, while the matter of children and guest numbers would probably not need to be enforced, according to staff.

“It it doesn’t result in a complaint, it’s not a big concern,” senior planner Karin Albert told council.

There was also a question about whether short-term rental owners could rent out their own living space if they are away, which staff said could be regulated through licensing.

Council also gave third reading to the amendment to the business licence bylaw and direction to staff to enforce the vacation rental regulations in the zoning bylaw on a proactive basis.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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