The Blue Mountains council has rejected a proposed rezoning that would have allowed a short-term accommodation business at a property located at 689667 Monterra Road.
At its meeting on July 4, council voted 6-1 against allowing a rezoning of the property to a resort residential designation to allow a short-term rental. The issue generated plenty of public interest with local resident Tony Stepanek appearing as a delegation to oppose the proposal.
Council also received letters from two nearby residents who opposed the rezoning. Council members indicated multiple concerns about the proposal, as a staff report on the matter indicated that the property in question had past violations and charges for operating a short-term accommodation without a licence.
In The Blue Mountains, a rental unit that is let for fewer than 30 days is considered a short-term accommodation and must be licensed through the town's program. Such units are only permitted in designated zones within the town.
Property owner and proponent Amit Tayal was also a delegation at the meeting and asked for approval of the rezoning.
Council rejected the rezoning and cited four reasons:
“If we start rezoning R1-1 into something that allows short-term accommodations, we’re defeating the objective of the official plan,” said Mayor Alar Soever. “There is a reason short-term accommodations aren’t allowed in the R1-1 zone, because we don’t want them there.”
According to the town's comprehensive zoning bylaw, the R1-1 zoning designation is for residential use only, not commercial or resort.
Soever added that the town had very carefully created an exclusion zone for short-term accommodations around the Blue Mountain Village area of the community in order to service the tourism industry.
Coun. Jim Uram was the lone dissenting voice on council and he noted that the official plan does allow short-term accommodations in other areas under very strict conditions.
“This appears to have all the boxes checked with regards to the zoning bylaw,” he said, urging members of council to re-read the staff report on the application. “We have a set of policies in place that say in this particular location that this may be a use that is worthwhile.”
Uram also expressed concerns that a rejection of the rezoning could lead to an appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal.
Earlier in the meeting, Tayal appeared as a delegation and urged council to approve his application.
“This is going to be the bread and butter for my family,” said Tayal. “I’m here to follow all the rules and regulations.”
Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon questioned Tayal about the previous infractions at the property related to an unlicensed short-term accommodation. Tayal said at the time he was not aware of the town’s licensing requirements for short-term accommodations.
Bordignon also pointed out that due to the previous infractions it was unlikely Tayal would be able to get a licence for a short-term accommodation even if the rezoning is approved.
The deputy mayor asked Tayal who would be applying for the licence in the event the rezoning passes.
Initially, Tayal said he would apply for the licence, but later told council a member of his family would be applying.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca