Peterborough County townships grapple with short-term rental issues

Townships in Peterborough County continue to grapple with short-term cottage rentals – and what to do with their “polarizing” effects on riverside communities.

“The public consultation process reiterated that this topic and the proposed permitting program is highly polarizing,” says a staff report presented to Trent Lakes council summarizing the results of a November citizen survey and meeting. public on the subject at its regular Tuesday meeting.

In public responses, many people think short-term rentals should be banned altogether, the report says. Overall, 64% of survey respondents felt they should be regulated and 59% supported the township’s proposed licensing program.

The conundrum, shared by a number of county townships with waterfront properties, is how to balance the recent explosive growth of the home-sharing economy – which provides income to homeowners to offset taxes, mortgages and maintenance costs – with neighbor concerns about disruptive behavior. .

Noise, late-night parties, overcrowded properties, dangerous campfires, and fireworks are among the complaints often raised by long-term residents living near short-term rental properties.

According to the report, seasonal residents make up 63% of the township and about 74% of residential dwellings are waterfront properties.

Short term rentals are generally defined as less than 28 days.

In survey responses, those who disagreed with the imposed regulations said they would be “excessive” and that the existing regulations are sufficient to address the issues.

Council received the report and directed its Short Term Rental Task Force to use the results to make a recommendation to Council.

Meanwhile, Douro-Dummer Township Council on Tuesday approved a staff recommendation that a public inquiry should be held to gather feedback on short-term rentals in the township. They also suggest a public meeting on April 7.

The survey will be available on the township’s website from February 7 to mid-March. Staff will report to the board no later than the first board meeting in May.

Mayor J. Murray Jones said it’s been a problem for some time.

“I really wish we could push a magic button and pop it out the way everyone wants,” he said.

Douro-Dummer plans to “talk” with the Township of North Kawartha to discuss solutions, staff said.

At a county council meeting in September, staff were asked to explore how townships could work together to look at the options, impacts and costs of short-term rentals.

After the meetings were held, staff recommended in December that the county continue to offer assistance to townships, but said: “There was general agreement that a one-size-fits-all approach at the county level would not be beneficial at this time. . »

Brendan Burke is a reporter at the Examiner. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Contact him at [email protected]

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