City of Revelstoke Drops Short-Term Rentals By-law, Offers New Plan to Limit Rentals to Specific Neighborhoods


File photo: Three houses in downtown Revelstoke: Photo: Aaron Orlando / Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Revelstoke will look to limit short-term rentals to areas with the existing tourist downtown, near CMA and Mackenzie Village, as it begins to develop a new short-term rental plan again.

This new approach replaces the previous short-term rental plan discussed in recent months, which is now discontinued.

At the Dec. 9, 2021, Town of Revelstoke Committee of the Whole meeting, members approved a staff-recommended option that plans to limit short-term rentals to specific areas of Revelstoke.

A staff report mentions downtown, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Mackenzie Village. The plan is to develop a new plan based on a plan presented in a report to the committee.

Two other personnel options were left behind.

The first was to continue the short-term rental regulation with feedback-based improvements. This means that the settlement that has been the subject of commentary in recent months has failed and has been put aside, including commitments on many details.

The other abandoned option was to put the project on hold for a period of time until the BC government updated its short-term rental policies, possibly in 2022.

The committee chose to go ahead with the neighborhood-specific option. Or Option 3.

The wording of the staff recommendation approved by the committee reads as follows:

Examine the feasibility of a draft by-law for the STR that would be authorized in specific areas of the city that have existing zoning to allow tourist accommodation

The next steps are to develop the plan, prepare a report, determine the costs, develop a new policy and go back to public engagement, then zoning bylaw changes. A preliminary report is expected in January. Obviously, the new process looks likely to take at least a few months to several months, maybe more.

A counselor objected

Com. J. Rhind was the only vote against the limitation to specific neighborhoods. She spoke out strongly against unequal rules, while others countered that zoning by zone is standard.

More details on the preliminary plan

The city staff report has more detailed bullet points on what they hope to do, so if you’re following the short-term rental issue in Revelstoke, you should follow this link to the City staff report from December 9 here. Once there, search for ‘Option 3’ and read to the end.

The preliminary plan will require board approval at some point. The report says a preliminary report could be released in January 2022.

December 9 was a committee meeting, which has less procedural language and more open discussion, which makes it easier to understand.

You can watch the December 9 committee discussion on the topic that kicked off the discussion on short-term rentals here:

Analysis: Back to the drawing board

After two years of studies, reports, plans and meetings, the city’s proposed short-term rental bylaw crashed and burned down and the city is restarting the process, starting from scratch with a new plan. to limit short-term rentals to certain areas.

Officially, the city has spent $ 17,532 on the process so far, but that doesn’t include staff time and other resources undermined by other pressing business.

Somehow the city has been trying to sort out the short-term rental problem more or less since Revelstoke Mountain Resort opened, but especially in the last decade since vacation rental bookings online have increased.

The city has not met with success in its saga. First, interim measures were taken to prosecute offenders in court, but this proved costly and mostly unsuccessful, and was dropped. Then the city tried a one-time zoning process which fell apart after city council meetings started to look like Jerry Springer Show recordings as applicants fought with their neighbors over individual vacation rental applications. It has been abandoned. Now the last attempt, the option for basement suites, has ended.

The city plans to try and relaunch the process, trusting its linear approach to the financialization of the housing market and exploding house prices, driven in part in Revelstoke by the city’s continued failure to enforce its main mandate to regulate use. This marketed residential properties, increasing their value in an already melting Canadian market. The city will close that barn door someday, you just have to wait.

Meanwhile, the hijacking approach prevails, the frenzy continues and more fins are turning, including a new sector of large commercial real estate holding companies taking over investment property in Canada.

An interesting anecdote from the meeting came from Coun. Tim Palmer, who pioneered the idea that if the city went ahead with the plan to limit short-term rentals to downtown and near the resort, it could also explore vested interests in rentals of existing unauthorized vacations that are outside the proposed areas. The idea is based on a municipal legal concept that if “existing non-conforming” land uses are not allowed to function legally, they should be retained. we are entering an election year. It’s unclear if the concept will be incorporated into the plan, but Palmer has gone out of his way to get it on file.

The other wild card in 2022 is what the province will do on the issue of short-term rentals. The province has come under pressure from the UBCM to establish a provincial framework and rules. However, municipal governments have pressured the province to do something to fix the short-term rental problem for nearly a decade, but no provincial quick fixes have been spent so far. so trust the government authority to take effective action on the market driven short term rental portfolio where you can.


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