On December 1, Town Council voted unanimously to approve regulations on short term rentals (STRs). This decision follows four years of research, observation, policy work and public consultation from Town staff, which included 13 official reports to Council, feedback collected from over 500 people, 4 focus groups, one open house, two online surveys, a public hearing, targeted stakeholder meetings, numerus posts on social media, and interviews and advertisements with local media outlets.
“It has truly been a community effort in developing these regulations,” said Mayor Ron Oszust. “Council chose to tread slowly on this issue, observing and learning from other communities’ experiences, while our staff has worked diligently to engage key stakeholders and the residents of Golden to help guide and inform Council’s overarching direction and ultimately their decision.”
From the feedback collected between 2017 and 2020, residents and business owners expressed that although STRs are generally an expected accommodation and are supported, the playing field needed to be levelled and the impact on the housing market needed to be addressed. As part of the feedback collected, staff worked with a diverse group of stakeholders through four focus groups, leading to mutual learnings and a greater understanding of the need to balance desires and interests of individual stakeholders. Town staff used this feedback, in addition to the B.C. Hotel Association’s Framework for Canadian Regulators, and best practices from other municipalities to develop the regulations.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to create a fairly regulated environment that supports a viable short term rental sector, while also meaningfully preserving housing stock for residential purposes, both ownership and rental,” explained Phil Armstrong, Manager of Development Services. “I think we’ve managed to achieve that goal with these new regulations primarily modeled on home based businesses regulations.”
At the public check-in conducted in the month of August 2020, residents were agreed that the regulations work towards protecting housing for residential use (57%), addressing concerns with nuisance issues (54%) and work towards leveling the playing field with traditional accommodators (42% with 27.5% responding neutral).
“After hearing that we were on the right track through our public check-in this summer and hearing from the community during the public hearing, we are looking forward to rolling out the regulations in the first half of 2021,” said Armstrong.
Under the new regulations, the following is permitted in residential zones:
- A permanent resident may operate a B&B (rental of rooms) within a single detached dwelling.
- A permanent resident may operate a STR (rental of a dwelling unit) within a single detached dwelling with a secondary suite, if they live in the other suite.
- Within a single titled duplex one can either live in one half and operate a B&B or live in one half and operate a STR in the other half.
- All are subject to the permanent resident residing on the property and occupying their residence during the commercial STR/B&B use of up to three bedrooms.
- After hearing from the hotel association, short term rentals will be expanded to also include the C4 and C6 zones in addition to the C1, C2 and C3 zones.
Under the new regulations, the following is prohibited in residential zones:
- A B&B or STR must not be on a property that contains a Detached Secondary Residential Dwelling (ex. carriage house). A B&B/STR must be within the principal building.
- Rental of an entire single detached dwelling.
- A B&B/STR in a multi-family residential building or in a manufactured home zone.
Now that the regulations have been approved by Council, staff will be focusing efforts on implementation, preparing application packages and developing an awareness and education campaign. A fine bylaw will be brought forward to Council in the first quarter of 2021.
To learn more about the regulations and the STR process, visit golden.ca/strs.