Court ruling could impact South Okanagan

A court ruling in favour of a property owner operating visitor accommodation could impact communities in the South Okanagan, the RDOS warns

A court decision in favour of a property owner operating visitor accommodation in Naramata could impact residential neighbourhoods throughout the South Okanagan, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen warned.

The RDOS contended the owner was operating a vacation rental contrary to the restrictions placed on private visitor accommodation and bed and breakfasts.

But the judge determined that the owners had lawfully operated their accommodations as a permitted secondary use of their home.

The Regional District is looking into options for an appeal.

While the use of homes for private visitor accommodation/bed and breakfast has been expanded by this ruling, there are still zoning regulations in place and circumstances where this use is not permitted in homes,” the RDOS said in a news release.

For example, the zoning limits a private visitor accommodation/bed and breakfast to not more than three bedrooms and a maximum of eight guests, it added.

The RDOS will continue to enforce the zoning bylaw for private visitor accommodation/bed and breakfast upon complaint and will review the particulars of how each use is operated.

The legal costs associated with this case are covered by all of the Electoral Areas of the RDOS as part of the planning function – there will not be an additional cost to Area E property owners.

The RDOS will be taking steps to amend the zoning bylaws of the region to provide for private visitor accommodation/bed and breakfast as originally intended in our bylaws,” the Regional District said.

“As a type of small scale home occupation conducted by the residents living on the site and for accommodation of visitors in bedrooms in the home.”