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New draft zoning bylaws and STR options to get Penetanguishene resident feedback

Additional dwelling units, short-term rentals and cannabis were key issues within review process
Draft zoning bylaws including short term rentals will be offered for Penetanguishene resident input in upcoming months, aiming to be implemented prior to the summer season. Staff photo/MidlandToday

Penetanguishene staff is working to align short-term-rental discussions before the 2022 summer season starts.

Alison Luoma, senior planner with Meridian Planning, provided a zoning bylaw (ZBL) review update to Penetanguishene council at a recent meeting. 

Current Penetanguishene bylaws were adopted 20 years ago, with notable changes occurring in the interim such as population, demographics, land-use trends, and higher-tier legislative requirements. The town’s Official Plan, approved in 2019, also warranted a comprehensive review of the 2000 ZBL.

The bulk of the presentation focused around three key issues: additional dwelling units; short-term rentals; and cannabis.

“The thread here is that these are additional uses or an intensification of uses that we’re seeing occur in residential areas,” Luoma explained to council.

Municipalities are required to permit additional dwelling units (ADU) in detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings, and in an accessory building structure, to total three possible residential units on a property as per the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 of Ontario.

“It’s really not a secret that we’ve got an affordable housing problem here in Ontario, and these ADU have been deemed to provide a short-term and sustainable response,” said Luoma.

Short-term rentals (STR) were defined as being nobody’s primary residence, instead designated as a dwelling unit made available to rent with the intent of financial compensation.

Cannabis producers must meet defined municipal ZBL regulations respecting land uses, with grow operations licences as: outdoor field crops; in greenhouses as indoor agricultural uses; and in indoor warehouses. Licence holders must provide authorities notice within 30 days of changes to the licence.

The recommended response to each of these three issues involved permits.

Also discussed in the presentation was a proposed new zone structure with five categories: six residential zones; three mixed use and commercial zones; five shoreline zones; three employment zones; and five ‘other’ zones.

“What exactly are we looking at, criteria-wise, permitting STRs in R1 zoning?” asked Mayor Doug Leroux.

Luoma replied, “As it stands in the draft bylaw, we have permitted them in the R1 and the R2 zone -- only in detached dwellings -- and then we have included some of those additional regulations and requirements around them so they must be on municipally-maintained streets and on full services, etc.”

She added that council would have the option to permit them only as per amendment in the bylaw.

A referral for a staff report on STRs from earlier in the year was also on the agenda for council, “not by mistake or coincidence” according to planning director Andrea Betty.

“Zoning is one way of addressing STRs,” said Betty, “but the best tool a municipality can use under the Municipal Act is in regards to licensing. That’s the path that I think we need to go down and explore with our community.”

Staff recommended taking a look at licensing bylaw examples from other municipalities dealing with STRs and obtaining community feedback through a survey, open houses and public meeting.

“I would note that a licensing bylaw doesn’t require the zoning to be in effect, so council can proceed with licensing outside the zoning,” stated Betty.

Coun. George Vadeboncoeur warned of enforcement and administrative implications for staff “if we enter into a licensing regime,” and asked that impacts be looked at for the community and also internal to the municipality for getting involved in a licensing program.

Public consultation on the draft zoning bylaw is anticipated for the first quarter of 2022, with a bylaw being presented on STRs in late spring to coincide with the new ZBL, prior to the summer season.

The presentation on the draft zoning bylaw, as well as the short-term-rental licensing options referral report, can be viewed in the committee of the whole agenda on the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Further information can be found on the zoning bylaw review page of the Connect Penetanguishene website as well as the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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