Subdivision covenant prohibits use of house as an Airbnb

The monthly meeting of the Webb City Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday was convened – for no reason.A public hearing was on the agenda for the request of Amin Kajani to be issued a special use permit in order to operate an AirBNB at 1536 Anderson Drive.However, City Administrator Carl Francis announced as soon as the meeting started that someone had brought forth a covenant in that subdivision which prohibits any commercial activity.One of several subdivision neighbors in attendance, who were in apparent opposition to the request, asked for a clarification.Francis replied that the city cannot issue a license because the home has a covenant. Another neighbor noted that there’s another house in the subdivision whose owner is apparently renting out a garage on a short-term basis.Francis said the rule giving covenants precedence in such cases “applies to all houses in the subdivision. We’ll look into it (the reported apparent violation).”

Rick Utter, chairman of the commission, noted that Airbnbs are becoming more popular.

However, the Webb City Code does not specifically regulate Airbnbs. In fact, City Attorney Troy Salchow said there are only two cities in Missouri whose codes address vacation rental websites, including Airbnb and VRBO.

Currently, the city’s approach (when covenants don’t apply) is to require homeowners to request a short-term-rental special use permit.