A Lake Sherwood couple was given first-round approval Monday to operate a short-term rental on East Third Street in Washington.
The city’s planning and zoning commission voted in favor of a special use permit at 1423 E. Third St. at a home owned by Terri and Scott Morgan. The commission voted 7-0 in favor of the permit. Member Samantha Cerutti Wacker was not at the meeting. The city council must give final approval for the special use permit.
According to Sal Maniaci, community and economic development director, the home is located just west of Third Parkway.
“It is currently a rental and the owners want to do something short-term, 30 days, if anyone is interested or it is requested,” Maniaci said.
Scott Morgan said his wife is employed by Mercy Hospital Washington and there has been interest in short term homes for patients, their families or those conducting business at the hospital.
“They would prefer to stay there than at a hotel,” Morgan stated. “This is not a party house. It is more for business.”
He added the home is 580 square feet in size.
Maniaci said there would be on street parking but no commercial traffic that would disturb the area. He added that no neighbors objected to short-term lodging at the property.
If the council approves the permit, the Morgans would be required to obtain an occupancy permit, businesses license and be charged a tourism tax.
In October, the Washington Planning and Zoning Commission Monday denied two requests by residents seeking to use their property for short-term lodging.
Neighbors in both cases protested the requests citing several reasons, including the parking, security and noise. Some neighbors added they were unaware that vacation rentals by owners (VRBO)s were proposed, or already operating, in their subdivisions.
Maniaci said the homeowners brought their requests to the zoning commission after he contacted them when he saw ads for their room rentals during the solar eclipse on AirBnB, an online marketplace where people lease or rent lodging. A special use permit is required for Washington residents in most zoning districts to rent out rooms or homes for short-term use.
Following those requests, Maniaci laid the groundwork for a committee with the goal to inform Washington of trending businesses such as ride sharing and VRBOs.
The primary focus of a workshop to educate residents on the “sharing economy.”
In April, Gov. Eric Greitens signed a bill that set statewide regulations for ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.
According to Maniaci, that piece of legislation means drivers for the companies are not required to get a city business license.
Short-term lodging is permitted in the Downtown zoning district and the C-3 Overlay District, which is along Fifth Street.
The cost of a special use permit is $150 and a merchant’s license is $25.