Tourist accommodation rezoning applications sail through public hearings
After years of sometimes rancorous debate regarding tourist accommodations in residential neighbourhoods, the first three rezoning applications for villa or chalet-style accommodations, and one for a bed and breakfast, sailed through public hearings Monday night.
Rezoning applications which would allow villa-style accommodations at 8302 Rainbow Drive and 8147 Meadow Lane and a chalet operation at 7206 Spruce Grove Circle generated little opposition and attracted only about 15 people to the public hearings. The Spruce Grove application was the most controversial, with two neighbours expressing their opposition in letters to council and another, Chris Nelson, speaking against it.
"It’s a family neighbourhood, it’s a dense neighbourhood with probably the smallest lots in Whistler and most of the houses have suites," Nelson said.
"We understand Whistler is a resort, but it’s also our home."
The Spruce Grove application, from Mike Cole, is to change the existing RS6 zoning to RTA7, which would permit the main part of the three-bedroom house to be rented out for temporary accommodation to a maximum of eight guests. Cole proposes to live in the suite in the house.
No one spoke against the Rainbow Drive and Meadow Lane applications for villa-style accommodation, although council received one letter in opposition to the Rainbow Drive application.
Villa accommodation is where a house is rented to one party, whereas chalet accommodation may rent rooms in one house to separate or unrelated parties.
Peter Dejong, owner of the Rainbow Drive property, used the public hearing to state his case for villa zoning.
"Often people applying for commercial accommodation zoning do so as a matter of survival," Dejong told council. He added that some single family home owners who complain about commercial accommodation rezonings in their neighbourhoods actually rent their own homes out illegally, on occasion.
Dejong and his wife intend to live in a suite in the house and operate the villa themselves.
The bed and breakfast rezoning application for 6170 Eagle Drive would permit two bedrooms to be rented, to a maximum of five guests. Three letters opposing the rezoning were received by council, along with eight letters of support.