CANMORE – A homeowner operating a tourist home in the Silvertip neighbourhood without a permit has lost an appeal against an issued stop order.
Citing the land use bylaw, which indicates a tourist home must not operate in a residentially-zoned district, as well as evidence the home had been marketed on tourism websites, Canmore’s Subdivision Development and Appeal Board (SDAB) officially signed a denial to an appeal concerning 7 Blue Grouse Ride on Jan. 25.
“There is no means available to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board to approve a tourist home at this property as a tourist home is neither permitted nor a discretionary use in the R1 residential single family-detached district of the Town’s land use bylaw,” the SDAB order said.
The homeowners of 7 Blue Grouse Ridge were issued a stop order on Nov. 7, 2019 after numerous neighbours complained about the home being used as a weekly rental. The stop order called for the homeowners to cease the advertisement, cancel existing bookings and cease all use of the property as a tourist home.
At that time, the home was seen advertised online on a website called Vacation Rentals By Owners (vrbo.com) and was marketed as ‘The Silvertip Lodge.’
“Your home in the Canadian Rockies-Banff and Lake Louise,” the description read.
During the Jan. 9 appeal, the homeowner of 7 Blue Grouse Ridge, Alexander Standyk, said he had been emailing with the Town of Canmore since early 2018 concerning the proper use of his home. He indicated his home had only been rented out to friends and family, which is a permitted use under the land use bylaw. However, SDAB member Rochelle Harding noted there was evidence indicating the home had been advertised and rented out on a short-term basis to people who may not have been family, or friends.
“The correspondence you provided between yourself and the Town of Canmore talks about the use of your home by friends and family,” said Harding.
“That’s okay, that makes sense, but we have evidence for advertising on a vacation website with some indication that people who are not friends and family potentially have rented the home for short-term rentals and I believe you also have had a private website that advertises…”
Standyk cut Harding off, indicating he thought he was abiding by the land use bylaw.
“Sure, but again this was a bylaw and I reached out to the Town in order to be in compliance with the bylaw and after my conversations with the Town, I feel that I am in compliance, that this is advertised as a residence, and it’s advertised as a long-term residence,” said Standyk.
“People don’t go on month-long vacations.”
Harding then asked if Standyk had rented his home for compensation for a short-term rental, to which Standyk said he had not.
“I have not rented the home for short-term rentals since the conversations I’ve had with the bylaw enforcement officer, and I have not rented my home for short-term rentals from November 2019 forward.”
Board member and town councillor, Vi Sandford, stepped in to ask for clarification.
“Thank you for those explanations. So what I’m hearing is that since you got a stop order you have actually stopped doing it, but not before, so you were renting your home out,” she said, to which Standyk said his home was only advertised for long-term rentals.
Sandford wasn’t standing down, referencing a review left on an online advertisement of the home.
“Well, if people are saying they had a great time over the weekend with ten people in the house, that implies that you gave them a short-term rental,” she said.
The six-bedroom, five-bathroom home had been advertised for an average of $250 per night, which SDAB board member Harry Scott pointed out wouldn’t make much sense financially for a month-long rental.
SDAB members cited this and other online advertisements of the home as another reason to deny the appeal.
“The evidence provided showed that the property was advertised as a vacation property on Nov. 7, 2019 and had been used as such previously,” the order said.
The land use bylaw states that a tourist home is prohibited in all residential districts.
“The development or operation of a tourist home constitutes a commercial development and is prohibited in all residential districts unless the use is explicitly provided for within the applicable land use district and a valid development permit is in place for the tourist home,” the bylaw reads.
The board received 12 written submissions in opposition to the appeal as well as heard from five residents from Blue Grouse Ridge, also in opposition, during the Jan. 9 appeal.