P&Z rejects proposed regulations for short-term rentals
A proposed ordinance regulating short-term rentals will be on the Webb City Council agenda Monday – without the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The commissioners discussed and even suggested changes to the proposed ordinance during their regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 15. But they voted 3-2 against it.
Prior to reviewing the proposed ordinance, the commissioners held public hearings for two requests for short-term-rental special use permits. They rejected one request 5-0 and advanced the other 4-1.
The difference between the two requests is that a crowd of neighbors came to oppose Nathan Bemo’s request for 1401 Matthew Circle, while there was no opposition to Tom Harter’s request for 520 S. Ball St.
Commission member Kelly Braeckel said he was supporting property rights as he suggested the percentage of neighbors necessary for city staff to reject a request (without it going to P&Z and the council) be increased from 30% to 50%.
Member Clarence Greeno said Airbnbs (short-term rentals) are competing against hotels and need to be required to hold a business license. He wanted that stated more clearly in the proposed ordinance. He also wanted applicants to verify when they apply that their house doesn’t violate a home owners association contract. An applicant withdrew his request earlier this year when he became aware that his HOA doesn’t allow shorft-term rentals.
City Attorney Troy Salchow agreed to make some suggested changes to the proposed ordinance, but it still received a majority no vote.
Voting no with Braeckel were Chris Taylor and Ryan Evitts. The two yes votes were from Grenno and Mike Moore.
After the meeting adjourned, City Administrator Carl Francis phoned Mayor Lynn Ragsdale and confirmed that despite the P&Z decision the proposed ordinance will still be on the council’s agenda.
Nathan Bemo told commissioners that he understands the neighborhood’s complaints about previous unruly Airbnb guests, and “I feel terrible.”
From those incidents, he said he has learned ways to only rent to four-star guests and enforce penalties for those who do not obey the rules. He said he would install a smart-home system that would only allow registered guests inside the home.
The five-bedroom home with three baths is perfect for large groups, such as those traveling here to attend funerals, he said.
But neighbors reported wild parties, with guests jumping from the second floor into the pool.
Bemo said short-term rentals, commonly booked through the online firm Airbnb, are a great alternative for landlords. He said a property being rented for $1,000 to $1,500 per month can make as much as $10,000 a month through Airbnb.
He explained that he has been operating 1401 Matthew Circle as an Airbnb without a special use permit because he didn’t know it was required in Webb City. As soon as he found out he said he came in to apply. He said he has also applied for a business license, which is required for owners of short-term rental property.
A business license is not required for landlords of long-term (30-day minimum) rentals.
Kaitlin Owens, who lives next door to 1401 Matthew Circle, said Bemo’s Airbnb success “is at our expense.”
She cited a parking problem that she attributed to the 16-person limit.
Another neighbor noted the star rating system is only for the person making the booking, not the other guests.
Rather than a unruly party once a year, he asked commission members to imagine a party every Saturday and Sunday all summer.
He warned that if other home owners converted to short-term rental, “all of a sudden we don’t have a family neighborhood.”
Francis said, “I have no problem with Airbnbs as long as they don’t disrupt the neighborhood. We just can’t let them keep operating,” without protection for neighbors.
According to Police Chief Don Melton, police were called to 1401 Matthew Circle on June 23 for a complaint about renters shooting off fireworks. They responded twice on July 3. The first call was for a grass fire started by fireworks. The second call was for shooting fireworks before allowed by law. On July 4, there was a complaint about fireworks from 1401 Matthew Circle striking a neighbor’s house, lawn furniture and pool.
Francis said a criminal-offense charge against another short-term rental owner is currently scheduled to be heard in municipal court.
A special use permit is requested to use 520 S. Ball St. as a short-term rental.
Tom Harter and Brian Neugebauer presented the request to allow short-term rentals at 520 S. Ball St.
They noted the three bedroom house is on a corner lot with offstreet parking and a garage.
Neugebauer is from Colorado, where he said Airbnbs are quite popular.
For this house, they say they will appeal to families.
Evitts asked what the difference is between the Bemo and Harter requests. The answer he was given is that 520 S. Ball St. is mostly in a neighborhood of rentals.
Aside from that, it has received no opposition, and four calls have been received in favor of the house becoming a short-term rental.
AN ORDINANCE amending Chapter 405 – Zoning Regulations of the Webb City Code by amending Section 405.020–Definitions, and enacting Section 405.505 – Short-Term Rentals, by adding language to permit and regulate short-term rentals in certain districts.
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WEBB CITY, MISSOURI, as follows:
WHEREAS, the City of Webb City, Missouri (the “City”) is a third class city and political subdivision of the State of Missouri, organized and validly existing under and by virtue of the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri; and
WHEREAS, the City desires to amend Chapter 405 of the City Code to clarify regulations and permitting regarding short-term rentals; and
WHEREAS, the City desires to protect the public health and safety by establishing reasonable regulations on short-term rentals regarding noise, neighborhood safety, neighborhood character, and other health and safety concerns; and
WHEREAS, the City desires to establish fees to meet the reasonable expenditures of permitting short-term rentals; and,
WHEREAS, the City of Webb City sets out to protect citizens from adverse land uses through implementing zoning code and may enable minimum or maximum distances between potentially conflicting land uses; and
WHEREAS, public notice was given by publication in the Jasper County Citizen on July 27, 2022 that a public hearing of the Planning and Zoning Commission would take place on August 15, 2022 at 5:45 P.M., where the Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Webb City would consider the aforesaid amendments;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WEBB CITY, MISSOURI AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1: Upon proper notice and public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission, and following recommendation of approval by said Commission, the City of Webb City, Missouri hereby amends Chapter 405 – Zoning Regulations of the Webb City Code by amending Section 405.020–Definitions, by adding the following definition as a subpart, which subpart shall hereafter read as follows:
“Short-term Rental” means a residential unit in which lodging is provided for time-limited durations for periods of time less than twenty-eight (28) consecutive days and may or may not be occupied by the proprietor.”
Other than as specifically set forth hereinabove, all other definitions and subparts of Section 405.020 of the Webb City Code shall be unaffected by this amendment and shall remain in full force and effect.
SECTION 2: Upon proper notice and public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission, and following recommendation of approval by said Commission, the City of Webb City, Missouri hereby amends Section 405.060 by adding the following sub-paragraph to section 405.060 B. – Uses Permited: which paragraph shall hereafter read as follows:
10. Short-term Rentals. All short-term rentals shall be administratively review by the City Building Commissioner, or his/her designee, based upon compliance with the following requirements:
B. Standards for Short-term Rental Uses.
4. Events. No short-term rental shall be rented or used for the sole purpose of receptions, parties, weddings, or other similar events.
5. Exterior. There shall be no alteration to the exterior of a structure or site that changes the residential character of said structure or site.
6. Parking. Adequate off-street parking shall be provided at a rate of one (1) space per bedroom.
C. Permits – Issuance.
SECTION 3: The portions of this Ordinance shall be severable. In the event that any portion of this Ordinance is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the remaining portions are valid, unless the court finds the valid portions of this Ordinance are so essential and inseparably connected that it cannot be presumed that the City Council would not have enacted such provisions without the others.