Nightly rentals are a never ending discussion in the Branson community.
At the virtual Feb. 2 Planning Commission meeting a request was brought forward by city staff and passed by the Planning Commission for Municipal Code amendments to be made to Chapter 94 - Zoning, that pertains to nightly rentals.
The two changes that were presented include:
–Do not allow an individual room to be rented within a single-family dwelling on a nightly basis.
–Nightly rental should not be allowed within Planned Developments unless it is specifically listed as an allowed or permitted use.
According to a staff report provided by the city of Branson, before 2016 nightly rentals within the city were handled through a requirement found in Chapter 22 - Businesses of the Branson Municipal Code.
“Prior to 2016, nightly rentals were handled very, very simply in the Branson Municipal Code Chapter 22,” said Planning and Development Director Joel Hornickel. “That’s the business chapter for business licenses and it quite simply stated for a very long time that lodging establishments shall not be allowed in, what at that time was the R1 zoning district, which became the low density residential district. That is all that was stated in code about nightly rentals.”
According to the report, this option was no longer enough once the growth and popularity of nightly rentals increased within the city. This led to the term ‘nightly rental’ and other overall changes to be added to create the Unified Development Code in 2016.
Additions to Chapter 94 were created, a definition was provided for more clarity and the Permitted Use Table showed where this use was permitted within the city. In 2018 further clarity was added in Chapter 22, Section 22-36.
According to the report, the city has continued to receive a handful of complaints over the years and properties have continued to be identified for operating illegally and without the proper approvals.
“We did receive several complaints from neighbors and residents within the Hideaway Hills Subdivision (off of Roark Valley Road) around June of last year,” said Hornickel. “They were having problems with two particular nightly rentals on their street; one that did have a business license and was approved to operate and one that was operating without a license.”
According to Hornickel, Aldermen Bob Simmons and Bill Skains, along with city staff, met with neighborhood representatives again in November of 2020 to identify some potential solutions to their concerns.
“Going through that lengthy list that we all agreed to, we identified there was a strong opportunity with the attorney working more in Chapter 22; particularly about agents being responsible parties,” said Hornickel. “Sometimes property owners that live in other states are hard to come by so we need to increase our opportunities to hold agents accountable and what that process looks like. However, being that that’s in Chapter 22 it falls outside the Planning Commission responsibility.”
Conversation to further provide clarification on the second proposed change was also discussed at the meeting.
“To go into further detail with that second (proposed change), we had many Planned Developments over the history of this city and they’re very vague, to the extent of in their list of allowed uses they have statements along the lines of ‘any use within the R3 district shall be allowed’,” said Hornickel. “By default that then brings nightly rentals as being an allowed use so there’s been quite a bit of flexibility built into these Planned Developments and that’s caused some concern for partially the Hideaway Hills area.”
According to Hornickel, the second proposal creates a requirement for Planned Developments to specifically add their desire to allow nightly rental into their list of uses, instead of them vaguely saying (intentionally or not) that nightly rentals are OK.
“What we’re talking about is not that particular neighborhood. That neighborhood just happened to be kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back to move this regulation forward,” said Hornickel. “These (recommended changes) very much are for effect of the entire community, not just a single area.”
This item received a unanimous yes vote at the meeting.
Visit bransonmo.gov, under the ‘Government’ tab for the complete agenda and for a link to watch the recorded meeting.