A public hearing was held on two land use bylaw amendments: Bylaw 346 Exiting Commercial Gross Floor Area Transferability and Bylaw 347 Exiting Gross Floor Area Transfer Fees. There were four verbal presentations from the public and two written submissions on Bylaw 346, and one written submission on Bylaw 347. Council voted to remove the vote for second and third readings of both bylaws from the agenda until the public submissions could be thoroughly reviewed.
Council voted against a motion that would have created a report on options for protecting valued view sheds. The motion had been held over from the previous meeting, as part of a group of requests from the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) for council to consider. Council had postponed the vote until they could receive a verbal report on view sheds that was presented to the MPC. The vote failed 3-3, with councillors against saying that Banff already had other regulations in place to protect views valued by the community.
Council passed Bylaw 55-9, the 2015 Supplementary Property Assessment Bylaw. Supplementary assessments are required to tax any new developments or improvements throughout the current year. Every year the annual property assessments are set based on the property value of the previous year.
Council approved a three-year trial project to turn the 200 block of Bear Street into a “woonerf” or shared street beginning this summer. They voted for Option 3, which includes some on-street parallel parking, seating areas similar to those on Banff Avenue, and private seating areas for business owners with sidewalk seating/café permits. Bear Street is not used as a main travel route and receives a fraction of the traffic and pedestrian volumes of Banff Avenue. Additional planters, garbage bins and bike racks will be placed on the street, which will maintain two-way traffic. The cost of the project is $99,000, plus $17,200 per year for maintenance. The trial will operate during the summer months only, and will be dismantled for the winter. Council also voted to move the Banff Farmers Market to the Bear Street parking lot during this trial to add more of a pedestrian feel to the street. The market will continue to operate on Wednesdays for 16 weeks from June 10 through to September 23.
Roam transit’s Route 1 – Sulphur Mountain will double its service this summer. Council voted to fund increased frequency of the route so it will run every 30 minutes as opposed to every 55 minutes. Funding will come from unspent transit funds ($29,796) and from the budget stabilization reserve ($19,204). The increased service will run from June 27 to September 7.
Council received a briefing on compensation and benefits at the Town of Banff to review council’s expectations and results of the 2012 external compensation review. The briefing also included desired outcomes of the 2015 external compensation review.
Council also received a briefing on unauthorized commercial accommodation units and the town’s enforcement against AirBnB and Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) listings. Following a vote of council in August 2014, the town has been proactively enforcing provisions of the land use bylaw which prohibit using residential property as commercial accommodation. Enforcement activities have resulted in the removal of numerous web-based advertisements with services like AirBnB and VRBO. However, it is unclear whether properties that were offered as commercial accommodations are now offered to residents as longer-term accommodations.