The public will get a chance to comment on Cumberland’s proposed vacation rental bylaw.
The village is looking to the bylaw to provide some framework for short-term rentals in the community while at the same time trying to protect the housing supply for long-term rentals.
At the June 13, council passed the first and second reading of the bylaw, meaning the matter can now go to a public hearing. This will happen on Wednesday, July 6 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.
Already, village staff have been taking input from people in the community, especially those with rental properties, in order to draft the bylaw.
“It’s amazing what months of discussion look like when it’s in a bylaw, in a few lines,” senior planner Karin Albert said.
One of the concerns for the village is that many are already operating without a licence or in areas not zoned for the rentals. Albert told council that, as of the meeting, there were 62 active listings for short-term rentals during the month, though the village only had 20 that currently had a licence or were in the process of getting one prior to the village putting in a moratorium on new applications.
“We possibly have about 42 that are non-compliant,” she said.
Albert said a recent move by the province indicates it is considering a policy for online platforms to report and share data with local governments about where properties are located, to help with regulating the practice.
For council, one issue is the number of staff hours needed to respond to infractions, as the bylaw calls for proactive enforcement against people operating outside approved areas or without licensing.
“I like the idea of enforcement because I think these people … most of them know,” Mayor Leslie Baird said. “They still continue to do it, so I think we will be doing some enforcement.”
Council also questions about details for signs the village wants businesses to post as well as parking requirements, though Albert indicated they will stick with the plan of one spot per bedroom space on a property.