Richmond Heights council lets Airbnb ban stand

Richmond Heights city officials Monday came down on both sides of allowing short term rentals STRs) in the city, with none feeling strong enough for the issue to make a motion.

The council had sent the issue to plan and zoning, which passed, not taking a vote of recommendation for the council. City Manager Amy Hamilton told the council that P&Z thought an ordinance allowing STRs — the most popular is Airbnb — would be too hard to regulate and enforce.

Some council members expressed support.

Ed Notter said he uses Airbnb when he travels, recently to San Antonio to see his son graduate. He said residents in his district are against it so that’s how he would vote, though he would feel like a hypocrite doing so.

Matt Casey said a home owner should be able to use their home how they wish, making no distinction between a STR or a longer term rentals. He said the problem comes with absentee owners who don’t keep up the property.

Reginald Finney said he would vote in favor, but didn’t feel strong enough for it to make a motion.

Joan Provaznik, Rick Vilcek, Megan Moylan, Dan Sebben and Danny Hebenstreit were against it, to varying degrees.

They expressed concerns about enforcing the ordinance, especially making sure the owner is present.

That’s been a problem with 1108 E. Linden. The owner is absentee (from Chesterfield according to St. Louis County records), and rents it as an Airbnb in spite of the city’s ban on STRs. The owner has been cited, and is due in court, for large parties on the front yard of the house while rented.

Vilcek said he didn’t want a motel in operation every other night in neighborhoods. He was also worried about houses being used as ‘safe houses’ for crime.

Vilcek pointed out that the state is considering a bill that would allow any resident in the state to run an STR (HB 2457), and they should wait to see what happens with that.

Mayor Thomson, finally, agreed with that.

For now, the city’s ban on STRs stands.

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