Increasing number of owner-unoccupied, unregulated homestay businesses prompts Town review
BY DON RICKERS
Special to the VOICE
A concerned citizens meeting was held last Thursday evening, June 14, in the Lookout Ridge Phase Two subdivision, regarding AirBnBs in Pelham. Pelham Councillor Gary Accursi was present, and estimated that about 75 were in attendance.
Prior to the meeting, Accursi says he was contacted by several residents, who expressed a variety of concerns about the presence of AirBnBs.
Accursi commented that some real estate investors seem to be approaching Airbnbs as full-time businesses, and don’t concern themselves with the impact on the neighbourhood.
Neighbours, say Accursi, are concerned about traffic, parking, noise, fire safety, cannabis use, poor property maintenance, and unknown individuals in the subdivision.
In some cases it has been reported that there does not appear to be anyone managing the properties, hence there is no one to complain to should concerns arise.
Accursi brought this issue before Council previously, the outcome being that Council directed staff to collect information regarding the concerns expressed and what other communities have done to manage similar issues.
AirBnBs were not viewed as disruptive elements in the community in the past.
Accursi says that community members with concerns and suggestions are invited to forward them to Pelham Fire Chief Bob Lymburner. The concerns will be compiled and form part of a report to Council.
The intended goal, if a bylaw were to be enacted, would be to afford the Town some measure of authority in controlling such things as licensing, location, inspection, and fire safety.
“At this time we are in the information collection stage and will work through the process in a thoughtful and informed manner,” says Accursi.
He says that the next meeting will be convened at Fonthill Fire Station #1, date yet to be determined.
Editor’s note: Don Rickers owns a Pelham bed & breakfast, and occasionally books guests through Airbnb.