Regional district hopes reduced fees will entice registration of vacation rentals
By Steve Arstad
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January 21, 2016 - 6:30 PM
PENTICTON - The Okanagan Similkameen Regional District wants more residents to formalize their property’s use as a vacation rental so have extended the reduced price of a temporary use permit.
The fee for a vacation rental temporary use permit application will continue to be $350. The price will go back up to $700 on Jan. 1, 2017.
Last year, 12 applications were submitted under the reduced rate. Eight of these properties were approved, while three continue to be processed. One application was withdrawn.
In contrast, the City of Penticton issued 40 vacation rental business licenses last year.
What is troubling to regional district administration is the number of potential vacation rentals that could be in the regional district, possibly in the hundreds. If that is the case, the current response to reduced applications fees have been less than hoped for. By reducing fees for another year, regional district staff hope to encourage unregistered vacation rental operators to formalize the use of their property.
Penticton director Judy Sentes, although supportive of the move, was concerned about the “significant reduction in cost, saying the reduction to $350 was too much.
Area “D” Director Tom Siddon described the reasons for implementing Temporary Use Permits in the rural area stemmed from residents in higher end rural neighbourhoods who expected to live next to a single family dwelling, only to find suddenly there were multiple cars parked in the driveway, people diving into swimming pools at 3 a.m. and smoking pot out on the back deck.
“These complaints triggered a notion that if you’re going to be allowed to do this in residential areas, there has to be a process in terms of building permits, structural requirements, adequate sewage, but also in terms of consultation,” he said.
West Bench director Michael Brydon said there was low public awareness for the program, noting more advertising might be necessary to get the word out there about the extension of the reduced rate.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016