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Special meeting on short-term accommodations

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff has called a special Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss short-term accommodation regulations.

Public comments and questions are to be received along with a presentation and review of draft recommendations.

The meeting is be held at the Wellington and District Community Centre, 111 Belleville Street, Wellington, Monday, Sept. 10 beginning at 7 p.m.

The link to the detailed results is as follows:

http://www.thecounty.ca/media/pe-county/documents/special-projects/Results-of-short-term-accommodation-survey.pdf

Link to Short-Term Accommodations page:

http://www.thecounty.ca/county-government/municipal-projects/short-term-accommodations/

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  1. Howard Lopez says:

    At the Monday evening meeting there was mention of an STA association having been formed by one of the speakers.
    Does anyone have a contact where one can learn more about the group?
    Thank you

  2. Michelle says:

    The part that strikes me as nonsensical is tieing the Sta,s to an affordable housing crisis. The STA’s available are unaffordable and will remain so for persons seeking affordable housing. This is no manic cure by any means.

  3. Gary says:

    This needs to have a costing review. More bureaucracy, more fire inspection staff, more bylaw enforcement officers, more vehicles, administration staff et. etc. This could very easily end up costing the municipality and ultimately the taxpayer to regulate and police. Not enough information to make a well reasoned decision. And speaking of decision makers, the Councilors involved or related to the tourist accommodation, resort business, STA”s, Bed & Breakfasts, and real estate business need to all declare a conflict on this one.

  4. Fred says:

    This matter is being rushed through a lame duck Council without in depth planning and input. What is the hurry with an election 5 weeks away? Has everyone declared a conflict that are connected to tourism and accommodations?

  5. Susan says:

    If all the Councilors that are connected to short term rentals or real estate sales of such, appropriately declare a conflict, I am not certain there would be a quorum of Council.

  6. Chuck says:

    Will cottages since they are STA,s as well fall under this review? Will homes being rented on a long term basis be regulated? Makes no sense to inspect short term rentals and leave long term rentals off the hook for compliance. Should be an interesting meeting tonight.

  7. Chris Keenc says:

    Steve Ferguson has uncovered some interesting data that he shared with Council yesterday. According to AirDNA there are 1,035 STAs in the County. Over 800 of these are for the WHOLE house. Now some of these are likely three-season cottages, but many are not. Perhaps it’s time for Council, like Toronto, to give a primary residence only regulation a closer look!?

    https://www.airdna.co/market-data/app/ca/ontario/prince-edward-county/overview

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    Chuck – the conflict you are describing has existed for years on this council. Assuming you are correct, this is no different than what took place with the wind turbines that several councillors were involved in, or sub-division agreements or more recently with the Farm Ratio Tax. It ain’t right, never has been, but the public continue to elect these people. Now I notice that a young farmer is a candidate for the new Bloomfield/Hallowell ward – according to the paper, one of his concerns is the need to promote agricultural issues. Is that a conflict or not?

  9. Chuck says:

    The numbers at the very least have been provided. You are smart enough to get the names. STA, North Marysburgh, B&B Bloomfield, large tourist resort, Athol, 2 realtors buying or selling STA,s.

  10. Dennis Fox says:

    Some of you are claiming that there are at least 5 councillors in conflict – so who are they? All these accusations flying about – and over what? This current council is in power until December – and there is plenty of time to deal with this issue prior to the election in October.

  11. Emily says:

    More reason to wait for the new Council who also can declare their positions on this issue. And of the at least 5 in conflict, two of the realtors are not running.

  12. Chuck says:

    And if 5 or more have a friend on Council that is owed a return favour. Just saying in regards to optics.

    We have one councilor with an STA, one with a B&B, one with a huge tourist accommodation business in Athol, and two who who are actively buying and selling STAs.

  13. Susan says:

    The question would be if it is within the mandate of a lame duck Council or if the electorate would be better served by the new Council taking their time and making sound decisions over the off season. Haste does not always lead to the best decision making. I get the sense this is being rushed at the end of this Council term. And 5 or more won’t be able to take part.

  14. Dennis Fox says:

    If there are councillors who have a conflict of interest in this issue, then by law they must remove themselves from the discussion and the vote. However, let’s not allow that issue to distract us form the real issue of rental accommodations – there is nothing so complicated about the issue that councill couldn’t deal with well before Election Day – almost two months away.

  15. Chuck says:

    Not just from voting, but removing themselves from the discussion as well.

  16. Chris Keen says:

    Chuck, if this issue does come up for discussion by the current council then those members who have a conflict need to recuse themselves from voting. Personally I wonder if this issue is too complicated to be resolved in the time the current council has left – no matter what Airbnb would like to see happen.

  17. Dennis Fox says:

    Some of you have talked about a homeowner’s civil rights/Charter of Rights, as if this gives people the right to do what they want with their property. I don’t think so! Municipalities have such things as “zoning by-laws” which are suppose to allow for certain kinds of development within an area. As a residential homeowner and taxpayer, I would not expect to see a business open up next door or down the street from me, unless the zoning allowed for it. This is something that I would have checked out before ever buying there. Sorry, but if someone wants to run a B&B or a short term rental (I’m not sue what the difference is) in a residential neighbourhood, then the surrounding homeowners have rights too (as outlined in the by-laws) – that could include saying NO, take it somewhere else. And why not? This argument about how these rental units contribute to tourism, is at best a weak one and it should not take precedence over another homeowner’s right to enjoy their property – which is in The Charter too.

  18. Paul Cole says:

    Emily I think STA’s will play an important role in Prince Edward Counties tourism industry and I don’t think anyone here is saying to outlaw STA’s and not allow them to operate. But they need to be regulated like any other business to create a level playing field for all accommodation based businesses here in The County. Why should B&B’s, Motels and Hotels have to adhere to by-laws and regulations and STA’s just get free rein to do what ever they want when ever they want.

  19. Chuck says:

    I count at least 4 – 5 Councillors who would be in conflict with this STA review as they are either running an STA, are in the tourism accomodation business or are realtors.

  20. Emily says:

    What cannot be lost before everyone sticks their noses into the STA,s is that they are providing a needed valuable service to the Tourism economy the County strongly promotes. Without them the visitors would be staying outside of the Coutnty and spending their money outside of here as well. Best to look at the big picture and determine what is really trying to be achieved here. How do you dictate to a property owner if they can rent their property or not? Charter Rights anyone?

  21. Chris Keen says:

    The City of Toronto restricts STAs to a property owner’s primary residence ONLY – something the County should consider. Existing B&Bs are certainly adequately regulated.

    From the County’s survey results it appears there are either 187 or 188 dwellings whose only use is for STAs (the numbers in related questions don’t agree); 176 respondents or 12% might purchase an additional property for STAs – so there is the potential of over 350 homes for this purpose in future.

    These dwellings are on land zoned as residential not commercial. Since they are actually businesses, are they not contravening the zoning by-laws by operating on land zoned as residential? If so, 187/188 properties need to be rezoned.

    These business owners are also getting a tax break since they are not paying the commercial tax rate for their properties – a rate higher than the residential rate. This is also clearly unfair to those operating similar businesses on commercially zoned properties – Picton Harbour Inn etc…

    These a just a couple of the thorny issues Council will need to resolve. 67% of respondents feel this use affects housing affordability and 48% feel residential homes should not be used for STAs. (The question would have been more meaningful if the word “exclusively” had been included.)

    Lots for the next Council to consider!

    I was looking forward to reading the “Other Ideas” section of the survey but the copy I downloaded does not include p. 18 where these were supposed to be.

  22. Dennis Fox says:

    I also believe there is a difference in the nature of a B&B operation when the owner(s) live there too. However, there is still a need for safety and inspection regs for all B&B operations. The safety of the guests need to be ensured – which means additional town staff and money – and perhaps the need for additional safety measures to be installed. There is a need for a B&B permit to cover the cost of inspections. The days of the MOm and Pop rental has come to an end – thanks to legal and insurance pressures.

    Also, the surrounding neigbourhood needs to be taken into consideration too – room rentals require more parking spaces – so a limit on the number of rooms any owner may rent or a limit of B&Bs in any one area “may” be the way to go.

    People have the right to do what they want with their home, but they don’t have the right to inflict it on those around them.

    This topic is an important one for this community – but I also wonder what the long term future is for PEC, if we don’t start protecting neighbourhoods and promoting them as family places to live. As one school after another closes, where will that leave us? A municipality with many short term rentals – big whoop!

  23. Paul Cole says:

    I agree Gary with your view of B&B’s and I don’t see why STA regulations would be much different than those I posted from PEC Comprehensive Zoning By-law. However I do believe there needs a limit to available licenses for STA’S so as not to diminish available long term rentals with in PEC…

  24. Gary Mooney says:

    It’s necessary to make a distinction between B&Bs, where the owner is resident, and non-owner occupied rentals. There are really no problem with B&Bs — they have permanent residents and are not contributing to a shortage of affordable accommodations. With the owner present, there is a built-in control on noise, garbage, parking.

    Currently, there is no regulation of non-owner occupied short-term rentals. Council, with input from property owners and the public, will have to decide if there needs to be regulation of these rentals, and to what extent.

  25. Paul Cole says:

    Oopsy 4.4.1 should read as..

    4.4.1 A bed and breakfast establishment shall only be permitted in an owner occupied single detached dwelling and shall be limited to a maximum of three (3) guest rooms per establishment

  26. Paul Cole says:

    Hmm I agree with Dennis this issue has been given due process, the only thing left to do is present results and recommendations based on those results and implementation . B&B’s are already regulated in PEC Comprehensive Zoning By-law.

    4.4 BED AND BREAKFAST ESTABLISHMENTS

    The following provisions shall apply to the establishment of a bed and breakfast establishment:
    permitted in an owner occupied single detached dwelling and shall be limited to a maximum of three (3) guest rooms per establishment.
    4.4.2 A bed and breakfast establishment shall not be established or operated in an accessory building.
    4.4.3 One parking space shall be provided per guest room in addition to the required spaces for the dwelling. Such parking spaces shall be on the same lot as the use and shall comply with the requirements of Section 5 of this By-law.
    4.4.4 Bed and breakfast establishments shall be permitted only in zones where expressly provided for as a permitted use and shall not be permitted as an accessory use.
    4.4.1 A bed and breakfast establishment shall only be
    4.4.5 Bed and breakfast establishments shall conform to all regulations and requirements of the zone where permitted.
    4.4.6 A bed and breakfast establishment shall not detract from the general character of the neighborhood nor be a nuisance in terms of noise, traffic, parking and visual character.
    4.4.7 A bed and breakfast establishment may have a sign(s) in accordance with the Municipal Sign By-law.

  27. Chuck says:

    So I take it that you believe government should dictate property rights. What you thought you owned, you really do not. Even renting for 2 summer months. “Home and native free”!

  28. Dennis Fox says:

    I don’t believe this issue is being rushed through at all. It has been the topic of at least one survey, public meetings and numerous news articles – how much longer should such an issue be discussed? I agree that at least one or two more public meetings are needed to get further input. Personally, I have no problem with Council bringing in by-laws regulating B&Bs and perhaps also financially benefiting from. In some areas of the County (Wellington) has been over-run with summer rentals and the sense of neighbourhood has been destroyed.

  29. Emily says:

    Just might be time for a “Property Owners Advisory Committee. Before government attempts to take all control away from free owners. This is not yet a socialist or communist country.

  30. Susan says:

    Yes. Why does the outgoing Mayor feel a need to rush this? It’s not time sensitive.

  31. Robert Quaiff says:

    http://www.thecounty.ca/media/pe-county/documents/special-projects/Results-of-short-term-accommodation-survey.pdf
    We had a glitch in getting this on line , just fixed today and on the municipal website you can now view all.

  32. Fred says:

    If we require anymore government control on our property then let the incoming Council look at it. What is the rush at the end of summer and at the end of the current Council term?

  33. Chris Keen says:

    The pdf link Paul Cole provided is a list of issues respondents to the survey raised. There is no raw data. The Times article mentions the consultant presented what other communities are doing not what they are going to recommend the County do.

    I don’t trust Council to make a decision on this issue without considerable opportunities for public input. We cannot provide this without the complete results of the report and release of the consultants report LONG before Council considers it. This is too important an issue to be decided in haste because AirBnB is waving cash around!

  34. Dennis Fox says:

    According to the Mayor, the results of the surve have not yet been made public.

  35. Gary Mooney says:

    Chris, the results of the short-term rental survey was presented to public meetings in Wellington and Picton in July. See the CountyLive report at:
    http://www.countylive.ca/significant-interest-in-countys-short-term-accommodation-issue/

  36. Paul Cole says:

    I’m not sure but this seems to be the final report there is no date on the document but the conclusion is very interesting….http://www.thecounty.ca/media/pe-county/documents/public-consultation-/Vacation-Rentals-Regulation-and-Licensing-Issue-Paper-Final.pdf

  37. Emily says:

    I think Council has the misguided idea that short term vacation rentals is the answer to affordable housing. It is not and in fact it couldn’t be further from being a solution. These rentals are way out of reach for those seeking affordable housing. We promoted tourism,we definitely have it and all those visitors require accommodations.

  38. Paul Cole says:

    STA’s should be regulated like any other business don’t you agree Dave ? Available rental housing in PEC has been diminished because property owners are opting to cash in on STA rentals instead of long term rentals and that’s their choice but a Business is a Business….

  39. Dave says:

    Paul Cole why do you want to “control” short term rentals?

    For what purpose?

  40. Chris Keen says:

    It has been reported that County staff are continuing to have discussions with Airbnb who I am sure are pushing very hard to have the issue of a fee decided as soon as possible. Perhaps that is what is behind this special meeting. Why has Council not released the results of the short term rental survey conducted earlier in the year? If they expect “public comments and questions” knowing these results might be useful.

  41. Paul Cole says:

    A business license would be a start, proper zoning pretty much the same regulations any Motel/Hotel or B&B must abide by. I would also like to see a limit on how many STA Licenses could be issued based on population or dwellings with in Prince Edward County. They can rent to who ever they want whenever they want as long as regulations are followed and appropriates fees and licenses are applied to the property….

  42. Emily says:

    Good luck regulating who a person can rent to, how long and for how much. Most vacation rentals are out of price for those seeking affordable housing. This is a big County business so look for a lot of resistance if their personal properties are controlled. Just saying.

  43. Dennis Fox says:

    Didn’t Council conduct a public survey on this very same issue, earlier this summer? What was the outcome of the survey? Also wasn’t it reported very recently that Council members discussed this issue of short term rentals at the AMO conference? I appreciate having the opportunity for input, but at some point I think the public needs to have a report on the results. This is as good as time as any to have the matter dealt with and to have regs in place by next summer.

  44. Paul Cole says:

    This is an important issue for renters in Prince Edward County and should be dealt with as soon as possible. Implementing Regulations has nothing to do with the Municipal Acts Lame Duck clause. Regulations are needed to control Short Term Accommodations and I hope THIS Council gets it right….

  45. Fred says:

    Agreed. This is a lame duck Council with the election a mere 8 weeks away. No major expenditures outside of budget or new policy decisions should be made. This group have had every opportunity to act. Time is up.

  46. Susan says:

    Better left for the new Council.

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