Think Nakusp should encourage more tiny homes or vacation rentals? Should your neighbour be able to build a house made of shipping containers? How does the Village make sure parking downtown doesn’t become a nightmare?
Those are just some of the issues being raised as the Village of Nakusp’s update of its zoning bylaw picks up steam.
The Village’s zoning bylaw essentially regulates land use within municipal limits, determines how land can and can’t be used and what can and can’t be built. It’s codified in a series of maps, and rules within those zones are set by regulations – on things like building height, setbacks, density and parking.
But Nakusp’s 2008 zoning bylaw is outdated – the Village has adopted a strategic plan, Downtown Revitalization Plan, and Official Community Plan since then. The old bylaw doesn’t jive well with new needs, new construction standards or changing community opinion on development.
“The update will ensure that the new bylaw is consistent with the newly adopted 2021 Official Community Plan, creates a more certain process and outcome for landowners and developers and supports sustainable land use policy,” says the Village website.
Officials from Urban Systems Ltd., a municipal consulting company, held an online public meeting November 2 to launch the second phase of the project. The company started work earlier this year reviewing existing bylaws and scoping the work needed to be done to align zoning rules better with other Village bylaws.
One of the big issues for participants at the Zoom open house was about vacation rentals.
“It would be a shame if the town decides to go against our line of business,” commented one vacation home owner in the online chat. “We all have to pay for the PST, GST and the MRDT, which is money to the town.”
“Airbnbs are classified as a short-term rental and short-term rentals are not currently addressed in the zoning bylaw,” said the consultants. “This means that short-term rentals are neither explicitly prohibited nor explicitly permitted in the zoning bylaw.”
Noting that operators of Airbnbs can get a business licence, Urban Systems Ltd. added that one of the reasons for the review and updates to the zoning bylaw was to “ask the community about their opinions on short-term rentals and how they would like short-term rentals regulated in the Village.”
There’s also an online survey asking about fence height, secondary suites, lot sizes, RVs as residences during construction, and where tiny homes should be allowed in town, among other issues.
After public consultation closes on November 22, work will begin on developing a draft of the new bylaw. It will then be presented to council and the public for input and review in February. A ‘cheat sheet’ will be provided with the draft bylaw to highlight changes for easier public review, the Village website says.
The document goes back again for revision and legal drafting, then returns to council for first and second reading sometime in spring 2022. The public and council will have yet another chance to review the final document, which will then go to council for adoption. That should happen sometime in May.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice