The Town of Banff will consider a new policy that prevents bed and breakfast owners from sitting on a licence if they are not in operation.
Councillor Leslie Taylor wants the issue examined as part of the land use bylaw review, noting she is aware of at least one B&B with a recently renewed licence that has not been in operation for quite some time.
Because there is a cap in place on the number of B&Bs allowed in the tourist town, she said people should not be able to sit on a licence if the accommodation is not in operation.
“If someone wants to renew a licence that wouldn’t be an issue, except for the fact that we do have limits. If the cap was reached in one particular area, then they are preventing someone else from being licensed,” she said at a recent council meeting.
“We don’t have a problem with it now, but it might become one in the future. It might pop up in three or four years, so I think it is wise to look at this as part of the land use bylaw review,” she added.
“It’s something perhaps in land use bylaw review needs to address. It’s like having a taxi licence and not using it. It’s the same thing.”
Currently, there are about 40 B&Bs in the tourist town.
Banff’s land use bylaw is the municipality’s primary regulatory tool for B&B operations.
The bylaw regulates the total number, their location with respect to other B&Bs, and certain components of their internal design. B&Bs are discretionary, meaning they require the approval of the Municipal Planning Commission.
As part of the current land use bylaw update, the municipality’s review team does not believe that any amendments to the number of permitted B&Bs is necessary at this time.
But, officials say, they could consider Coun. Taylor’s suggestion as part of the review.
“We don’t have a policy at the moment, but we’ll take this as direction to look at this,” said Randall McKay, the Town of Banff’s planning and development manager.