Survey says two thirds of people in Plympton-Wyoming want rules for short-term rentals

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Rentals along Plympton-Wyoming's lakefront on Airbnb.

Plympton-Wyoming councillors aren’t quite ready to start writing the rules for short term rentals.

The town has been looking at regulating the ‘Airbnb’ industry for a number of months after fielding complaints and petitions to deal with people renting homes in residential areas, clogging streets and making lots of noise.

Monday, Planner Randi Burke, presented a report on the public engagement on the issue. Over 67 per cent of the 219 people who answered an online survey want some form of regulation.

Sixty-three per cent said there should be a limit to the number of people staying in the accommodations and half said the town should limit the number of licences available in Plympton-Wyoming.

And while Mayor Gary Atkinson has long supported the idea of regulations, when it came time for council to direct staff to start drafting a bylaw, some were hesitant.

Councillor Bob Woolvett suggested the town needs to be careful drafting the bylaw because some people depend on the income of the short term rentals to keep their homes.

Councillor John VanKlaveren added he wouldn’t want to see the town spend a lot of money on enforcement of any proposed bylaw, saying that could be contracted out to property management companies.

And there were people in the council chambers who either wanted council to tread lightly on drafting new rules or ban short term rentals completely.
Councillor Alex Boughen, who in his job at Lambton Shores helped draft that municipality’s short term rental bylaw, suggested council doesn’t really know what it wants yet.

“I don’t think we can send staff away as of right now saying ‘go put together a bylaw,’ because we haven’t told them anything of what we’re looking for. We haven’t told them what we want the definition short term to be. We haven’t told them if we want to exempt owner/occupied (short term rentals) for permanent residents from the bylaw.

“I just feel like it’s going be a waste of resources and staff time if we send them away without a clear understanding or at least a rough idea of what we as council want to see.”

Boughen suggested, and council agreed, to have a special meeting on the issue, then have staff draft a bylaw and bring that to the public.