TBM planning to toughen rules around STAs

The Town of The Blue Mountains is planning to toughen up its planning policies governing the creation of new short-term accommodations (STA) in the community.

At its committee of the whole meeting on March 14, council approved a report from planning staff to undertake a Planning Act process to amend the town’s Official Plan to strengthen prohibitions on STAs that are outside the town’s current exception area.

The current rules include a strict prohibition on STAs outside the specific boundaries of the Tyrolean Lane, Birch View Trail and Albery Crescent area.

For areas outside the exception zone, these are the rules:

“The concern with these policies is that in extremely rare instances the policies could support the creation of a new STA outside of the exception area,” said the town's manager of community planning, Shawn Postma, in a report on the matter.

Council approved staff proceeding with a process to strengthen and tighten up the official policies on STAs.

“Council has indicated a willingness to update the official plan policies for short-term accommodation uses to strengthen the prohibition of STA’s outside of the exception area,” said Postma. “In order to accomplish this, staff recommend that an Official Plan amendment be prepared with stronger language prohibiting STA’s and removing the language on where new STA’s can be permitted.”

Staff intend to move the process quickly. An official plan amendment will be drafted, a public meeting will be held in late May and a follow-up report will come to council at committee of the whole after the public meeting. The intention is to have the new policies adopted in July.

The process does propose or consider changes to the licensing, zoning bylaw, or enforcement aspects of the STA program.

Coun. Gail Ardiel praised the initiative.

“I like how it’s going to be embedded in the official plan. That gives us more teeth,” she said. “This is a good thing.”

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca