After the Monday festivities and remembrances of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Columbia City Council will get back into the swing of the new year with a regular meeting on Tuesday.
The hot topics on the agenda are proposed rules for short-term rentals and a request to allow a drive-thru for a Raising Cane’s on Providence Road, both up for public comment.
To be, or to Airbnb?
In May 2018, the council asked city staff to look into the creation of zoning and other regulations for short-term rentals such as those advertised through Airbnb. After public comment sessions in 2019, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission felt the public had reached an “impasse” on exactly what residents want from the legislation, according to a council memo. The commission continued to meet, and the proposed rules were finally approved by consensus after three 2019 work sessions.
The legislation up for public comment Tuesday comes with “no recommendation” from the Planning and Zoning Commission. The council isn’t scheduled to vote on the proposal until its Feb. 3 meeting.
The ordinance differentiates between hosted and unhosted short-term rentals. Hosted rentals are those where the true owner of the property lives there and occupies the space 270 or more days of the year, while unhosted means the property holder does not live in the residence or lives there fewer than 270 days out of the year.
To rent a hosted property, the owner must appoint an agent as a contact for the city, should the owner be unable to be at their dwelling outside of work hours while the property is being rented.
The owner of an unhosted short-term rental is required to get a conditional use permit from the City Council. Also, more guests can be allowed under the conditional use permit, with council approval.
In one-family dwelling districts, short-term rentals would be unable to host more than three guests. Other districts in Columbia would be allowed up to four rental guests.
The public has worried that unruly patrons of unhosted, short-term rentals will destroy the character of residential neighborhoods. Others have noted that limiting the number of days a short-term rental can be rented may decrease investment in Columbia property. Some would like to see an increase in the districts that allow only hosted rentals.
At the Jan. 6 City Council meeting, Mayor Brian Treece expressed concern over the number of guests allowed in single-family dwellings, as a family of four would already be over the proposed limit.
Raising Cane’s is hoping to make its Columbia debut with a drive-thru, though the Planning and Zoning Commission was not too sure.
TKG St. Peters Shopping Center, LLC, is looking to get a conditional use permit from the City Council to install a drive-thru window at a future Raising Cane’s at 201 S. Providence Road. The shopping center’s agent, Van Matre Law Firm, will also have to request a change for the required building line from the Board of Adjustment. This is because the drive-thru will create a situation in which the chicken restaurant is not built up to the sidewalk, which is required in this area.
Raising Cane’s has included a bike rack, a bike repair station and ample outdoor seating in its plans, according to previous Missourian reporting.
The Planning and Zoning Commission denied the request for a drive-thru at its Dec. 5 meeting. Commissioner Anthony Stanton said the drive-thru isn’t a good fit for the area.
“My comment here is that you need to know the pulse of this city,” Stanton said at the time. “We’re hippies here in Columbia. We like to walk. Especially being located near downtown, we need to look at the whole picture.”
City staff asked for a traffic study, but no such study was included with background materials attached to a council memo about the request.
The Missouri Supreme Court has updated its fine structure for parking tickets, and Columbia is required to comply. The court established a set fine of $15.50 for standard parking violations, and $100.50 for unauthorized use of a space for drivers with disabilities, according to a council memo. To allow a defendant to pay a parking violation without appearing in a courtroom, each city must change its ordinances to match Supreme Court standards.
Columbia parking tickets cost $15 if paid within 15 days and $30 if paid within 30 days of the violation. Those who don’t pay within 30 days are required to appear in court.
City staff recommends removing ordinances regarding parking fines of $15 and then $30 to open room for judicial discretion to follow Supreme Court standards. This move is also put up for public comment at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Also Tuesday, Andy Woody will also be sworn in as the new fire chief. City Manager John Glascock announced Woody’s appointment Dec. 13, and Woody began his new role last Monday, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.