On May 31st, Council gave 1st and 2nd reading to Ucluelet Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1310. This bylaw was the subject of a Public Hearing held on June 28, 2022. At a Special Council Meeting on June 29th, 2022 Council voted to refer the proposed bylaw back to staff and return it to a Committee of the Whole meeting for further discussion. The CoW meeting took place on July 19th, with further instruction to staff to amend Bylaw No.1310 based on Council's discussion. Council considered first and second reading of amended proposed Bylaw No. 1310 at a special meeting of Council on August 2nd, 2022. Council also gave first, second and third reading to Business Regulation and Licensing Bylaw Amendment Bylaw No. 1313, 2022. A Public Hearing on Bylaw No. 1310 took place on August 23rd, at 5:30 pm. Bylaw No. 1310 and 1313 were adopted by Council on September 6th at the Regular Meeting of Council.
The purpose of this proposed bylaw is to make changes to the definition and regulations for Bed & Breakfast uses on lands in single-family residential zones. In broad terms the bylaw clarifies the definition for Bed and Breakfast uses and add Accessory Residential Dwelling Units as a permitted accessory use in most single-family residential zones. If you are planning a build or application containing a B&B use, please consult the updated bylaws to determine whether your plans may be impacted.
B&B’s (a.k.a. Short-Term Vacation Rentals in residential homes within Ucluelet neighbourhoods)
The proposed changes that Council is considering are to clarify the definition of Bed and Breakfast or “B&B” which is a permitted secondary use in most single-family residential zones. Council is considering differentiating between Traditional B&B’s where guests were welcomed into an owner’s home through the main entrance of the house and the Recent B&B’s where guests access a suite through an exterior door and may or may not interact with the proprietor. If approved the bylaw will continue to permit Traditional B&B’s in residential zones, while the Recent B&B’s with exterior entrances will no longer be a permitted use.
The proposed bylaw amendments would still allow the B&B use but would clarify that new B&B operations are intended to match the scale, character and neighbourhood impact that traditional B&B’s had on Ucluelet neighbourhoods.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I have a business licence for a B&B in my existing home, and my B&B rooms have exterior entrances with no internal connection to the main house – if the new regulations in Bylaw No. 1310 are adopted, would I have to renovate my home in order to keep operating my B&B?
No. Because the business was licenced prior to the bylaw change you would not need to change anything in your home to continue operating your B&B. At the time a new land use regulation bylaw is adopted, if an existing use of land or a building is lawfully used and does not conform to the bylaw, then it may be continued as a lawful non-conforming use. *Please also see the note on the Business Regulation and Licensing Bylaw No. 1313, below.
I have a building permit and my house is under construction. My approved house plans include extra bedrooms with exterior entrances that I am planning on using to operate a B&B. Construction won’t be complete until some time next year - so I am not ready to apply for a business licence yet. If the new regulations in Bylaw No. 1310 are adopted, will I be unable to get a business licence – and do I have to change how I am building my home in order to be eligible to run a B&B?
No. Because you have obtained a building permit and are already underway, you will be able to complete the process of construction, occupancy and business licensing as long as you comply with the “old” zoning regulations which were in effect back when you submitted your building permit application.
Building Permits In Process:
I applied for a building permit prior to August 2nd, 2022, and my house plans include extra bedrooms with exterior entrances that I am planning on using to operate a B&B. The review of my building permit application is not yet complete – will it be rejected because of the changes in Bylaw No. 1310?
No. Applications for building permits prior to August 2nd can carry on. Review of the building permit would be against the zoning regulations that were in place prior to August 2nd. Permitting, construction, occupancy and business licensing can all be completed as long as you comply with the “old” zoning regulations which were in effect back when you submitted your building permit application.
I have been thinking about submitting a building permit application to build a house including extra bedrooms with separate entrances which I would like to use to operate a B&B. Would the proposed new regulations in Bylaw No. 1310 affect my application?
Yes. Applicants for building permits after August 2nd should be aware of the new regulations which Bylaw No. 1310 would bring into effect. When new zoning regulations are being considered, Council has the authority to withhold building permits for up to 90 days while the process of updating the bylaw runs its course. At this point in time it is advisable to understand the changes in the regulations being considered with Bylaw No. 1310, and adjust your plans accordingly.
How do the bylaw amendments address long-term housing?
These bylaw amendments are not intended to be the ONE solution to address long-term housing issues in Ucluelet. The addition of ADU’s will permit more detached suites to be developed in the future although this could see limited uptake and have only a small impact on the development of new long-term accommodation in Ucluelet. The bylaw will help decrease the loss of existing long-term suites being converted into short-term rentals, but is not specifically aimed at adding new ones to the market pool. Addressing affordable housing and the availability of long-term housing in Ucluelet is an issue that needs to be addressed on many fronts; the District is working on addressing community housing needs through a variety of means.
On August 2nd, 2022, Council also gave first three readings to Business Regulation and Licensing Bylaw Amendment Bylaw No. 1313. If adopted, the new regulations would apply to all applications for business licences. This would affect both new businesses and the renewal of existing business licences.
Changes to the regulation of Bed & Breakfast accommodation include the following:
- The B&B licence must only be for the principal residence of the B&B licence holder.
- New requirements for online advertising of B&B’s to show the business licence number, maximum occupancy and number of parking spaces available.
- New requirement for B&B’s to post the business licence number, maximum occupancy, maximum number of guest vehicles and owner contact on an approved sign at the property line visible from the public road.
The new advertising requirements would take effect on May 1st, 2023.
Background: What is this all about?
Ucluelet is at a crossroads. Like many communities across the country, housing affordability has become an issue at the forefront of concerns for most households. This is an issue for both community members and business owners; increasingly, housing issues are translating into staffing issues. Housing is also a health issue; the availability of secure and affordable housing (or the lack) affects the health of individuals and families.
The character of Ucluelet and the fabric of the community depends on people being able to see a long-term path to stable housing that will meet their family’s needs. Households make long-term decisions on where they will invest their time and money, where they will raise kids, volunteer and put down roots. These individual decisions affect how a community functions and how it defines itself. If it wishes to keep its values then Ucluelet, like many communities, will need to take an active role in addressing local housing issues on many fronts. The Ucluelet Housing Needs Assessment identifies in detail the challenges being faced by Ucluelet residents. Limiting the proliferation of B&B’s in residential neighbourhoods is one step that Ucluelet can take to improve housing access and affordability.
Ucluelet has been experiencing a dramatic shift of value within the housing market. This is partly brought about by external forces (increased demand for rural properties brought by a global pandemic, a culture shift to working remotely, historically low interest rates, etc.), and is also affected by local forces (existing zoning regulations, destination tourism marketing, labour availability, etc.).
For years, within the Ucluelet zoning bylaw the Bed and Breakfast (“B&B”) use has been a permitted secondary use. This accessory use was intended to be a “mortgage helper” and first arose in the zoning regulations as the local economy saw shifts in the forestry and fishing sectors, and the community began to turn to tourism for additional economic opportunities. Over time, there has been rising popularity and demand for short term rentals (“STR’s”; this term is often used interchangeably with B&B in the discussion of short-term tourist accommodation within single-family residential properties).
In 2008 AirBnB was founded. Online bookings for independent STR accommodation began to grow in popularity.
The B&B accessory use within the residential zones in Ucluelet perhaps started as an innocuous side gig, but the rise of AirBnB and other online booking platforms led to that being discovered and promoted to the point where the B&B use is now effectively a loophole into the commercial vacation accommodation market.
What about supply? Recent development activities in Ucluelet?
There have been a number of recent and current housing development approvals:
Ocean West phase 5 (32-lot single-family subdivision: Development Permit (DP) and Preliminary Layout Approval (PLA) issued)
Lot 13 Marine Drive affordable housing (33-lot single-family subdivision: rezoning, DP and PLA issued)
Lot 16 Marine Drive housing development (112 units total, including 48-unit rental apartment. Rezoning approved.)
The Wave on Marine Drive development (6 townhouses: construction complete)
Development of 20 new homes under the Pocket Neighbourhood Residential regulations on St. Jacques Boulevard
Minato Bay proposed housing development (212 units; 78% affordable or attainable including 98 rental units. Zoning application in process.)
A handful of “one-off” site-specific single-family re-zonings to allow an Accessory Residential Dwelling Unit (ADU)
In addition, Council has supported the retention of existing housing and creation of temporary worker housing:
Raven Lodge rezoning to recognize existing non-conforming multi-family units and to enable building upgrades; and,
Numerous Temporary Use Permits (TUP) for seasonal worker housing, including a 2021 pilot project for a batch intake of TUP applications.