District launches survey to seek community input on Short-Term Rentals

The District of Squamish has launched a community survey and corresponding background information to obtain input on citizens’ perspectives and priorities as the District considers and develops regulations for short-term rentals (STRs). The survey, open through October 31, 2018, will inform the development of options for discussion with Council and the community.
“There is no easy answer or sweeping approach that is “best” in the case of short-term rentals, as each community has unique needs and wants,” says Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “Achieving a balanced approach begins with us hearing from citizens and getting a broad sense of where the community sits on this topic, and considering the perspectives they bring to the table.”
As of month-end August 2018, the inventory of active, unique STRs across all vacation platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO and others reached 429 units (source: Host Compliance, the District’s third party monitoring service).
STR policy and enforcement action was recommended by the 2016 Affordable Housing Task Force to address the growing proliferation of unpermitted STRs and mitigate the loss of long-term residential rental units. The District has been actively monitoring local STR trends and reviewing regulatory approaches across B.C. since then. With the completion of the Official Community Plan update, which included policy to develop regulations addressing STRs, attention has now turned to determine a specific regulation, licensing and enforcement approach.
Background information and data  has been compiled to inform the community STR conversation. This backgrounder outlines the District’s current accommodation inventory and needs, both from a tourism and long-term rental perspective. It also highlights a variety of potential regulatory tools and approaches to manage STRs, and some of the inherent trade-offs that need to be weighed as the community seeks to balance the opportunities and challenges that STRs present.
Once the survey closes, District staff will use the input to frame STR regulation options and their implications. Further consultation on these options will occur through focus sessions, Council workshops and community outreach in early 2019. Once a preferred approach is determined by Council, draft zoning and business licencing regulations will be prepared.
Visit squamish.ca/short-term-rentals to view the Community Snapshot and participate in the survey.

October 06, 2018

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  • Doug Smith Nov 03, 2018

    As an Airbnb host I find it troubling that the district has single our small businesses out for further taxation and licensing fees. As home owners we pay the lions share of taxes already in the form of property tax. Any further licensing has the stench of a second hand being jammed into our already crowded tax pocket. Rather than waste time going after short term rentals ( which will not solve the housing crisis but will put small business owners out of business) form a housing authority and see to it that developers are required to include a percentage of affordable and low income housing as well as day care spaces in any new development. Attacking small business is the easy way out, it takes courage to bite the hand that electorally feeds you. Be courageous and negotiate with those who can actually fix the issue. Be creative and keep in mind that many Airbnb hosts use the income to pay their property taxes and mortgages. Those of us who are lucky enough to own our homes ( we the few) will simply shut down, that’s a lot of mouths not eating at local restaurants and a lot of bums not sitting in s2s gondola seats. We provide a service more valuable than local hotels who tend to be booked up by Corporations working in town or a hotel in Whistler charging way too much for the privilege of paying an obscene amount for a lift ticket. If you can’t see your way to letting Airbnb hosts who pay crazy high property taxes continue to do business please be honest enough to admit it’s because you’re not getting a piece of the action.

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