Whistler council is considering tourist accommodation in residential neighbourhoods again, but only in the new subdivision of Nesters Pond. On the recommendation of municipal staff and with the support of the Advisory Planning Commission, council voted 4-2 Monday to consider rezoning all 25 single family market lots in the Nesters Pond subdivision to a new RTA 22 zoning. The key word is "consider." In an attempt to avoid some of the confrontation and hostility that takes place when rezonings reach the public hearing stage, council voted only to take the Nesters Pond rezoning application to a public open house, at a date to be determined. "Staff see some positives (in the rezoning application), and have some concerns. That’s why we’re proposing a public information session first — to hear neighbours’ concerns," administrator Jim Godfrey told council. But acting mayor Ken Melamed and Councillor Nick Davies thought that with previous tourist accommodation applications currently before the courts it was premature for council to deal with the Nesters Pond application. "Council said during its recent retreat it doesn’t want to open up the (tourist accommodation) can of worms," Melamed said. He added that "there are not a lot of similarities" between the Nesters Pond subdivision and subdivisions such as Nicklaus North or the future The Peaks, residential areas which allow tourist accommodation. "My concern is the perception we’re acting inconsistently. We don’t have a position on tourist accommodation," Davies said. "In my view, we should leave this aside until we see the outcome of current litigation and determine our own view — then deal with this." Councillor Kristi Wells countered Davies’ comments, saying council’s position was clear. "We won’t be looking at new TAs in existing subdivisions, but we will look at it in new subdivisions. In my view this is a new subdivision." Sea to Sky Holdings, developers of the Nesters Pond project, have applied to rezone all 25 single family market lots to a new residential tourist accommodation zone, prior to offering the lots for sale. The proposed zoning is similar to what is in place at Nicklaus North and Taluswood and would allow tourist accommodation for up to eight people when each dwelling is not being used residentially. Some of the lots at Nesters Pond will permit houses up to 5,000 square feet, although those houses will be limited to four bedrooms. Twelve of the 25 homes are required to have auxiliary suites for employees. Rent restrictions will apply to the suites. Two separate employee housing buildings are also part of the Nesters Pond development. A traffic analysis prepared by ND Lea Consultants for Sea to Sky Holdings concludes that traffic generation by the Nesters Pond subdivision, even if zoned for tourist accommodation use, will be minimal. The subdivision is adjacent to an existing bus route. A report from municipal staff notes that the lots will be close to the village and zoning them for tourist accommodation would be in keeping with the municipality’s original goal of keeping "warm beds" within walking distance of the village. If the RTA22 zoning is approved the 25 lots would be designated Resort Lands, requiring owners to become members of Tourism Whistler and pay associated fees. The report from municipal staff concludes: "From a community benefit perspective, the rezoning would reduce the pressure that is currently being felt by existing neighbourhoods to provide for this kind of use. This rezoning will not negatively impact on Municipal services, nor should it impact the residents of the adjacent employee housing site or the neighbours along Nesters Road."