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Property owner allegedly using Canmore home for tourists appealing stop order

The quasi-judicial appeal board allowed an adjournment until June 27 after the appellants’ lawyers requested a two-week stay of proceedings.
The house at 133 Wapiti Close in Canmore. GREG COLGAN RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – A rare appeal against a stop order for a tourist home will soon be in the hands of Canmore’s Subdivision Development and Appeal Board – but it will have to wait.

The quasi-judicial appeal board allowed an adjournment until June 27 after the appellants’ lawyers requested a two-week stay of proceedings.

Paul McAleer, an articling student with Calgary-based Caron and Partners, requested the adjournment on behalf of Jennifer Sykes, a partner with the law firm, due to a scheduling conflict.

Andre Giannandrea, chair of SDAB, said after a brief in camera session the three-person panel approved the postponement “in order to accommodate availability of legal counsel and procedural fairness.”

Eric Bjorge, a supervisor with the Town’s planning and development department, said municipal staff felt it was “a time sensitive matter”

“However, in the spirit of procedural fairness and the applicant’s right to have representation, we’re not objecting to a short adjournment,” he said.

The stop order was issued April 26 after Town staff investigated the property following several public complaints beginning in spring 2023. The investigation found the Wapiti Close property was advertised on Airbnb and VRBO. Town staff included several online ads with pricing ranging from $1,292 to $2,415 a night.

Several reviews of short-term stays were also included in the investigation completed by Town staff.

Multiple photos from 2022-23 showed several vehicles parked at the home.

“The advertisements indicate use of the property in a manner which is consistent with the definition of tourist home in the land use bylaw,” stated a staff report. “Specifically, the intent of occupants to stay for short-term vacation purposes (nightly rental), the use of a system of reservations, commercial nature of use, and advertising as a vacation property. neighbourhood reports of a pattern of use involving short-term vacation stays also helped to confirm the use of the property as tourist home.”

The staff report outlined the property falls outside of where tourist homes are permitted, allowing it only to be residential. The development permit for the home – issued in 2008 – allows only for a single-detached home and not a tourist home.

The Town previously issued a stop order in 2018, which was also appealed by Hans Herchen and SDAB sided with the Town.

The appeal claimed the order wasn’t properly issued, “given the history of the property and past enforcement steps taken against the owner.”

Rob Owen, a resident of Wapiti Close, wrote in a letter to SDAB how his family and neighbours “feel negatively impacted” by 133 Wapiti Close.

“There are regular large party renters of this property that are significantly disruptive to the community, including excessive noise in the hours between 10 pm and 4 am and illegal …  and excessive parking of vehicles in the quiet cul-de-sac that we all reside,” he wrote.

Glen Phillips, another long-term resident of Wapiti Close, echoed Owen’s letter and stated he had also made multiple complaints to the Town about 133 Wapiti Close.

“We have been subjected to multiple noisy weekend parties – male stags and female stagettes involving groups of more than 20 people. It is a constant parade of cars and people most summer weekends – some respectful – some not,” Phillips wrote.

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