Kirksville Council denies special use permit for local Airbnb

It was a packed meeting Monday night as the Kirksville City Council reviewed codes for Airbnb rentals in town. (MGN)

It was a packed meeting Monday night as the Kirksville City Council reviewed codes for Airbnb rentals in town.

According to city documents, Airbnb is a temporary room or home rental service that property owners can advertise to provide lodging similar to a hotel or bed and breakfast.

Some Airbnbs in Kirksville are located in single-family residential areas.

The city says bed and breakfast like establishments are allowed in those districts, but with the approval of a special use permit.

Monday night, council members were asked to approve or deny a permit to operate an Airbnb at a home on Meadow Brook Road, in the Hamilton Meadows subdivision.

The property is owned by Jennifer and Jeremy Houser.

Jennifer attended a council meeting in early October and said she believed the city should consider reevaluating its policies.

Monday night, she echoed those sentiments.

"In Kirksville, we have 204 neighborhoods, and many of those neighborhoods ban all businesses. So, anybody who sells anything is out of compliance. A lot of us are out of compliance."

At the October meeting, city staffers told Houser to stop operating the Airbnb until the proper permits were obtained.

Earlier this month, Houser's Airbnb was on the agenda for the Kirksville Planning and Zoning Commission.

While asking the commission to recommend to the council a special use permit - it was made known the Houser's had not ceased operations.

At that meeting and on Monday, a number of neighbors spoke in opposition to the Houser's operating their Airbnb.

They raised concerns such as declining property values, traffic and safety.

At planning and zoning, neighbors also recalled an incident where a house guest was found slumped over and incoherent - and as a result, Kirksville police were called.

In addition, the neighborhood in which the Houser's live is under a deed of dedication.

That measure specifies who is allowed to live in the home and states individuals are not permitted to operate a business out of it.

At the November 8 planning and zoning meeting, the commission voted unanimously to recommend to council the denial of the special use permit.

Monday night, Kirksville City Council members followed suit.

They voted unanimously to deny the application of the special use permit.

Council members told the Houser's they need to follow covenants in the deed of trust.

Kirksville City Manager Mari Macomber adds that citizens running Airbnbs in the city are asked to double check ordinances.

"Our goal is to identify and then reach out to them and kind of outline the process. And hopefully, if they are interested, we can figure out how to make it work."

Kirksville staffers and council members say they will continue reviewing codes for other Airbnbs in the area.

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