Short term rental (STR) accommodations in Tiny township became a few steps closer to regulation after council's recent committee of the whole meeting.
Calling the STRs “an epidemic," Coun. Gibb Wishart asked if chief municipal law officer Steve Harvey had enough staff to enforce the STRs, to which Harvey replied no, that new staff would need to be considered for the enforcement measures.
“From a policing standpoint, it’s going to take all hands to the oars,” said Wishart, adding that from a communication hub a person is required.
A suggestion from a previous meeting was brought up again by Coun. Cindy Hastings, regarding the use of paid duty OPP officers to aid in enforcement of issues while the municipality navigates through creating a proper STR framework.
Mayor George Cornell admitted at the time he wasn’t comfortable with the idea at the time, but would currently support revisiting the idea.
Harvey added that paid duty OPP had been used in the past for additional issues such as foot patrol on beaches during busy times.
Coun. Tony Mintoff agreed that the draft bylaw and code of conduct were essential components, but implored council to revisit the idea of zoning bylaw amendments.
“I know that our staff and our consultant have indicated that it may be problematic because it exposes us to LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) appeals, but to that I say: So what?
“I think we need to look at the zoning bylaw amendment potential, and the draft bylaw and code of conduct, as a hand-and-glove situation. From my point of view, the zoning component would be a ‘what’ and ‘where,’ and the bylaw and the code of conduct would be a ‘how’ and ‘when.’ I think they would fit nicely together,” Mintoff concluded.
Council later passed the motion for staff to report back on a proposed zoning bylaw amendment to regulate short term rentals, to include enforcement and LPAT implications, for the June 30 committee of the whole meeting.
Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma asked about setting up licensing while watching LPAT appeals in other municipalities such as Oro-Medonte, and possibly using those verdicts to base Tiny’s zoning bylaw foundations.
Tiny CAO Robert Lamb responded that's it’s very tricky to put the licensing component in place.
"We know we have a rough estimate of between 350 and 400 STR operations right now," Lamb said. "If we then started licensing them and then a year from now saying ‘we’re going the zoning route’, we’re only going to have 200. Now you’re into a bigger problem, rather than when your program is in place being whatever it is you decided to do.
“I think that foundation is key with setting up how we go forward.”
Coun. Wishart made mention of many requirements needing to be considered in regards to licensing guidelines, “because we’ll make some landlords miserable. Plain and simple, we’ll discipline them out of existence… From a numbers standpoint, licensing is the answer.”
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca