South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Bill addressing Airbnbs tabled again


An ordinance banning short-term rentals in Sunset Hills was tabled for a second time by the Board of Aldermen July 12.

The ordinance bans all rentals of less than 30 days in residential areas and has been in discussion since May. The ordinance is meant to include things like Airbnbs and pool rentals.

The ordinance was the main focus of public comment prior to the aldermen‘s discussion, with most residents against the rentals for a variety of reasons.

“The home listed on Airbnb in Sunset Greens is totally out of character for the neighborhood. It is listed as sleeping 10 people. This could lead to multiple cars … on a small street that has numerous children,” a submitted comment from Roger and Deb Wilke stated. “I have not talked to a single resident in the Sunset Greens Subdivision that is comfortable with the rental on this street.”

Many members of the subdivision commented similar concerns with the rental, highlighting crime, traffic and noise. Resident Rob McCracken was also in support of the ordinance, but pointed out that he hopes it will apply to things like pool rentals.

“One of our neighbors is renting a pool and I am totally against that. They were advertising $50 an hour for 15 people,” McCracken said.

McCracken said he isn’t against the noise and parties from pool owners, but he doesn’t believe those for-profit parties should be allowed in subdivisions.

The board has shown a commitment to passing something related to short-term rentals, but tabled the ordinance last meeting to ensure the city is not enforcing a legal gray area. 

City Attorney Erin Seele said there is a possibility the city could land in different legal issues if the ordinance passes. According to Seele, a recently passed piece of state legislation is expected to go into effect next month.

“We are looking into (House Bill 1662). It does … in some ways prohibit cities from regulating certain home-based businesses. I don’t think it would affect the new (Unified Development Ordinance) which is more seen as a land use rather than a home occupation,” Seele said. “I think the city is in a better position if they attributed it under zoning code.”

The city’s new UDO is expected to be heard by the board at its next meeting. Ward 3 Alderman Randy Epperson said the city should table the ordinance until the new state law is fully understood.

“There’s no reason to put the city in a position for continued litigation. Just so the public knows, I’m in support of banning these, we just have to do it legally and we don’t want to be caught up in a trick box because we rush it,” Epperson said.

Ward 4 Alderman Fred Daues said he wasn’t convinced the city will pass the UDO next time, so some ordinance may need to act as a Band-Aid in the meantime. 

Seele pointed out that she and former city attorney Jim Hetlage believe the current ordinance prohibits these rentals, so approving the ordinance in question could “muddy the waters” due to terms changing around. She said it is possible the city could pull the language from the new UDO and vote on that, but either way the ordinance would be postponed another month.

The board voted 8-0 to table the ordinance and asked that Seele prepare a report on HB 1662 prior to its next meeting.

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