By Leilani Haywood
Tribune Reporter

The Lee’s Summit City council adopted an ordinance that requires Airbnb hosts and short-term rental owners to secure a business license and be restricted to the downtown Lee’s Summit area with a maximum of two rooms that can be rented to up to four guests. The ordinance was adopted at the March 1, 2018 meeting by a vote of 7-1 with Mayor Pro Tem Rob Binney voting against it. Councilman Craig Faith moved for adoption and Diane Seif seconded the motion. Voting in favor of the ordinance were Councilmembers Trish Carlyle, Phyllis Edison, Craig Faith, Diane Forte, Dave Mosby, Diane Seif and Fred DeMoro. Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads signed it into law on March 6 and the new ordinance is effective immediately.

Under the newly adopted ordinance, short-term rentals must be on a parcel greater than one acre in size and are only allowed in single-family dwelling units or two-family dwelling units for a maximum of seven days. A maximum of two rooms can be rented and a maximum of four unrelated guests or a family are permitted. The owner or a local representative must live adjacent to the short-term rental and secure a business license for $50. Short-term rental owners must also pay License Taxes or five percent of gross daily receipts.

Lee’s Summit rules also mandate that each unit includes a functioning fire extinguisher; a smoke alarm in each bedroom; child-proofed electrical outlets; a map identifying escape routes; emergency contact information for the owner and a carbon monoxide detection device as require by city code.

Josh Johnson, assistant director of Plan Services for the City of Lee’s Summit told the council at the February 15 meeting that this ordinance began with a complaint from a resident in the Monarch View subdivision. “What came to light is that the house was an Airbnb listing and was being used as a party house,” said Johnson. “This was in obvious violation of the noise ordinance. The staff was directed to do research and prepare a possible ordinance.”

Johnson said he had a list of 25 Airbnb operators and homeowner associations that were kept apprised of the ordinance’s development. “We kept them in the loop during the process and did research on what other jurisdictions were doing to address issues of noise, traffic and safety of the residents,” he said. The ordinance limits Airbnb or short-term rentals to family dwellings, duplexes or parcels greater than one acre in size for no longer than a week. “The owner or representative must occupy the unit or be on an adjacent apartment,” he said. “We didn’t want people renting out studio apartments or homes downtown.”