The main meeting room at the Chute-à-Blondeau community centre saw a gathering of more than a dozen people for a November 30 public meeting on the issue of whether to regulate or allow short-term rentals (STRs) to set up in East Hawkesbury Township. Township council is considering a municipal zoning bylaw to deal with the matter after receiving complaints from residents in a Front Road neighbourhood about noise and other issues related to an Airbnb short-term rental in their area.
Both residents from the neighbohourhood, the Ottawa-based owner of the property, and other people involved in managing short-term rental and bed-and-breakfast operations in the township attended the public meeting.
Township staff prepared the proposed bylaw after researching how other municipalities deal with STRs. The bylaw, if approved, would require anyone who owns a short-term rental property and lists it on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo to pay an annual licence fee of $1000 to the township. The STRs would be subject to inspection by the bylaw department and STR owners could have their licence suspended or cancelled for violations of municipal bylaws or provincial or federal laws related to property. The bylaw would also limit the definition of STRs in the township to those properties that are « the principal residence of the property owner. » A numbered company would not be able to apply for an STR licence in East Hawkesbury Township.
The proposed bylaw may undergo revisions based on comments and feedback received during the November 30 meeting. Council will review and discuss the revised bylaw during its December 12 session.