FORT ERIE (Feb. 9, 2022) Since 2017, Town Council has been considering various short-term rental (STR) processes and regulations in order to balance increased interest with local preservation.
Following a recent legal review by the Town Solicitor, Council approved staff’s recommendations to hire a planning consultant. The role of the consultant will be to explore land use controls and restrictions for STRs in Fort Erie. They will be responsible for facilitating and processing amendments to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law, which includes public consultation, as directed by Council and will be hired in spring 2022.
“Planning for the future of short-term rentals in Fort Erie is critical to maintaining the integrity of our neighbourhoods. It’s also critical to ensure that the decisions we make now won’t lead to unintended legal ramifications in the future. Taking this additional step ensures we are taking a responsible approach to managing short-term rentals in Fort Erie,” said Mayor Wayne Redekop.
The legal review by the Town Solicitor determined that Fort Erie has authority to regulate STRs through its Zoning By-law where there are proper planning grounds to do so. This includes restricting where STRs may be located, although licenced STRs that currently exist will be protected as legal non-conforming uses under the Planning Act. Fort Erie may also regulate STRs through subdivision agreements by imposing conditions that are reasonable, relevant, necessary and equitable. Subdivision agreements that regulate or restrict STRs can be enforced through litigation.
While reviewing land use controls related to STRs in Fort Erie, the moratorium on new licences will remain in place. Therefore, the Town is not accepting any new STR licence applications until the consultant’s work is complete, which is expected by end of 2022. Fort Erie STR operators who held a licence in 2021, with five or less demerit points, are eligible for a renewal licence prior to March 31, 2022. Those STR operators with more than five demerit points can apply for a licence renewal beginning April 1, 2022, keeping in mind the maximum number of licences that can be issued in any given year is limited to 250.
A copy of the Land Use Controls and Legal Review of Short-term Rentals report is available on the Town’s website. Public consultation will be conducted prior to formally processing any amendments on this matter. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-871-1600, ext. 2501.
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