Regulating short-term rentals contemplated by City Council

An application for a special use permit to operate an Airbnb led to a broader discussion of such short-term rentals by the Webb City Council Monday.

Aaron Arlington is requesting to operate an Airbnb at 927 W. Second St., typically for people who need a place to stay until they can move in to their new house that’s under construction. The Planning and Zoning Commission advanced the request to the council. There were no objections from the neighborhood.

The council accepted first reading of a council bill approving Arlington’s Airbnb request.

There are no licensed short-term rental properties in Webb City. A previously requested short-term rental permit was withdrawn when it was learned the home owners association agreement didn’t allow it.

Jerry Fisher (3rd Ward) asked how many short-term rentals (less than 30 days) are operating without permit in Webb City.

City Administrator Carl Francis said “there are two we are aware of that are in direct violation” of current city code, which only allows renting for at least 30 days.

A house on West Daugherty Street and the Civic Place (across from the post office) come up when searching on the VRBO site for places to stay in Webb City.

There are several other houses or rooms for rent when searching for Webb City on Airbnb.

City Attorney Troy Salchow is preparing a council bill with regulations similar to Joplin’s short-term rental permit, which was passed early this year.

One provision of Joplin’s law is that a permit application will be rejected if at least 30% of the adjacent property owners object.

UPDATE: A request for a short-term rental at 510 W. Fifth St., is on the Planning and Zoning Commission’s July 18 agenda.

Crematory request

Simpson Funeral Home’s request for a special use permit to operate a crematory at 400 W. Daugherty St. was accepted on first reading – but there were some questions.

Ray Edwards (1st Ward) asked, “Is there much odor?”

The answer was no. If there were an odor it would be a violation of the permit. Austin Simpson said that a properly operated crematory will only discharge a water vapor that is usually not visible.

Simpson explained that in addition to the city’s permit, the funeral home will also need the approval of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. He added that the DNR regulates and monitors the discharge from crematories.

He told the P&Z Commission on June 20 that cremations, which require a minimum of three hours, would be performed during business hours.

The funeral home owns the vacant lot to the south. That’s where Simpson said a separate building will be constructed. One of the reasons for a separate building he said is that the height of the exhaust pipe must extend 4 feet above the highest point of the building’s roof.

Simpson said his family feels it can provide a higher level of care and quality if it conducts its own cremations instead of relying on a third party.

New housing across from Robin Ridge

The council approved both readings of an ordinance rezoning a 1.01-acre tract at 2020 N. Main St., owned by Mike Jarvis, from commercial to single-family residential.

Jarvis said he plans to build a house for himself on property 600 feet south of the Wellspring Church’s property. The acre being rezoned is part of a tract that has 7.7 other acres still zoned commercial.

Except for the Village at Wingfield Apartments, Jarvis owns most of the property on the west side of Main Street north of the railroad tracks.

He told the council that a developer wants to build houses on all of the property he owns south from the land he’s rezoning to the Wingfield apartments. Robin Ridge subdivision is on the east side of Main Street in that area.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a contract amendment to the solid waste contract that will change the method of fuel surcharge to be calculated to a maximum of 5% for every 30 days the national average price for diesel remains above $5 per gallon.

As a result, the current residential monthly solid waste bill of $9.48 will be increased 5% (47¢) to $9.95.

• Authorized the application for funding from the Missouri Department of Transportation to construct a sidewalk on East Street from the roundabout to East Daugherty Street (map at the bottom of this post). If approved, the city would match MoDOT’s contribution of $420,000 with $146,000. 

Asked about the likelihood of the application being approved by MoDOT, Francis said, “I got the last two (sidewalks) I applied for.” MoDOT and the city have jointly funded sidewalks so far on Madison Street, North Main Street and Stadium Drive (west of Madison Street). On its own, the state improved the sidewalk on MacArthur Drive (Highway 171).

• Accepted first reading of a special use permit bill for Steve Nelson to operate his business and store equipment at 102 S. Hall St. It is a building Nelson bought by bid from the city.

• Voted to approve an amended agreement with Missouri American Water for the city’s emergency purchase of water. The city had been required to purchase a mandatory amount of water monthly from Missouri America when Francis negotiated a new agreement to only purchase water as needed. It was realized recently that the new agreement hadn’t been put in writing.

• Approved second reading of an ordinance maintaining electric gross receipts at the current 4.762%.

• Mentioned that the new Zips Car Wash on South Madison Street is open now.