Shawnee rezoning request refused; the application ‘should not have been accepted’

After four months of deadlock in the city’s approval process, a zoning request was denied; staff said the request should never have been granted.

Last week there was a public hearing and consideration of an ordinance to rezone the property at 15413 Nickens Road from A-1 (rural agricultural district) to A-1 (rural agricultural district) with an LPZ overlay ( lake protection zone) and a CUP (conditional use permit). The request was for the operation of a guest room / Airbnb. The nominees are Zachary and Jennifer Grinnell and Sheri and Greg Rhodes.

In September, the Shawnee Planning Commission recommended postponing the case so that commissioners could gather more information on short-term rentals. Then, due to lack of quorum, there was no meeting of the planning committee on October 13.

Demand came back on the slate this month, only to find it couldn’t be accommodated.

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An Airbnb request on a lake was denied this month.

The CUP request was listed as Bed & Breakfast / Airbnb.

Bed and breakfasts are accommodations that must be owner occupied and where accommodation and breakfast are provided for a fee – but the problem lies in how Airbnb is defined.

“There is a clear difference between the uses of guest rooms and Airbnb”, indicates the agenda. “Airbnb is one of many short-term rental platforms that help sublet a unit (a house) or part of it (a single room).”

At the Planning Commission meeting on December 1, staff explained that the property in question has a lake lease, which states that the property is not to be sublet.

Reference (Chapter 16, Article II, Division 8, Section 16-322) City Code, “(a) No lease entered into under this division may be assigned or sublet, but the tenant may at any time during the term of his lease sell and transfer to other people the improvements on the lot he leased.

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According to the agenda item, “the request should not have been accepted because approval is not possible”. Planning staff recommended that the Planning Commission recommend the denial, which they unanimously did.

So when the public hearing and review by the Shawnee City Commission was set at its December 20 meeting, the request was unanimously dismissed as the commission cannot make a decision that goes to the against its own municipal code.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at [email protected]

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