Short-term rental denied in Britannia Beach

SLRD board rejects rezoning application for property

The SLRD board moved to deny a rezoning application from the owner of a property in Britannia Beach who has been operating a nightly short-term rental.

In the application from late June 2019, Yasuhiro Ida asked the SLRD board to consider rezoning his single-family house, which also has a suite rented by long-term tenants.  A background document presented in the SLRD agenda for the Aug. 28 meeting states the residence in question is currently listed on at least one short-term rental site while the application is before the board. As of Sept. 12, a listing on VRBO matching the property's description with an owner named Yasu Ida could still be found on the website.

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In an email to The Chief, Ida declined to be interviewed for this story.

"He's an absentee landlord. He doesn't live there, and it was denied for that reason," SLRD board chair and Area D representative Tony Rainbow said after the meeting.

The application came after a complaint on April 2, 2018, which said vehicles and people were coming and going from the property over a weekend in March. When contacted with a bylaw notice, the owners responded on May 7, 2018, saying they were not aware nightly rental was not allowed. Ida paid for the bylaw notice, and there have been no more complaints about the property, the staff report states.

"We've had issues in the past with parking, especially in the winter. Parking on the street, which is inconvenient for residents and also potentially dangerous in terms of emergency vehicles being able to have access to various properties," Rainbow said. "We've had problems with garbage not being disposed of properly and attracting wildlife. If you allow this to happen, there's no supervision there." 

Even though the application states there is parking for more than 15 cars, the description on the VRBO rental listing states the driveway is steep and can't be used if there's snow. "You may have to park at the bottom of the driveway."

Although the proposal said it would enforce house rules such as no children under 12 years old and a 10 p.m. quiet time, the staff's analysis said, "It is unclear how these rules will be enforced with no host on site, and limited oversight for guests." Rainbow said the noise is one of the most common complaints from the community regarding nightly rentals. He said the noise bylaw is difficult to enforce in Britannia, with limited police officers available and the bylaw officer stationed in Pemberton.

Short-term rentals in Britannia Beach were prohibited in new bylaw amendments adopted by the SLRD board in May this year. The amendments apply to both nightly rentals and bed and breakfast operations. This is the first application for rezoning after the Area D bylaw amendments. The staff report said the decision regarding this application could be precedent setting for the entire SLRD area.

People breaking the short-term rental bylaw, Rainbow said, can be fined up to $400 per night. The next step would be to get an injunction against the property owner.

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