A condominium building in downtown Sidney is currently undergoing a conversion toward becoming a hotel.
Chief administrative officer Randy Humble said staff are currently processing a building permit to convert the residential units at 9838 Second St. to hotel units.
“There are fewer than 10 units in the building,” he said, adding the application will not come before council because the downtown commercial zoning for the property permits use as a hotel.
The building would be subject to higher commercial, rather than residential, taxes once it has undergone conversion, staff said late last year, when news of the proposed convergence had first emerged. Coun. Sara Duncan expressed concern about the pending conversion at the time.
“The thing that we discovered is that there is an entire condo building switching to a hotel, which is a much bigger concern to me in terms of reducing the housing supply than these few remaining illegal (short-term rentals),” she said during council’s meeting on Dec. 20, 2021.
Duncan had discussed the issue as part of a larger discussion around short-term rentals. Housing advocates have long accused short-term rental platforms of compounding affordable housing shortages by taking them out of the rental supply. They also found allies among hotel operators, who see short-term rentals as a threat to workforce housing, and as competitors, since they operate out of private homes taxed at lower residential rates.
Councillors at the time unanimously approved a motion that staff continue to enforce short-term rentals with a proactive approach for the next 12 months and then re-evaluate.
The discussion at the time also drew attention to the definition of a hotel. “A hotel is simply defined as a collection of rooms accessed by a common lobby area,” said Corey Newcomb, Sidney’s senior manager of long-range planning, at the time.
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