NIXA, Mo. — An illegal Airbnb operation will be the hot topic at Nixa city council tonight.
Neighbors say a home on Scott Wayne Drive is a nuisance with guests getting home in the early morning hours and strangers’ dogs running through their yards. Homeowners whose properties border the Airbnb filed complaints and petitions. Unable to get a resolution from their city council representatives, their neighborhood builder, or the Homeowners Association, they turned to KOLR 10 Investigates for answers.
The city of Nixa has an ordinance dictating rules for short-term rentals like Airbnb’s, but the city Monday told KOLR 10 it knowingly allows the homeowner in question to rent her home to guests without the necessary inspection or business license while she goes through the application process.
“My biggest grievance is the violation of the city ordinance,” said neighbor Ed Quiko.
That city ordinance states that in order to operate a short-term rental, homeowners must first get approval from planning and zoning, approval from city council, then obtain a special use permit and business license.
“They’ve operated without a license since April,” said Quiko.
Drew Douglas, director of communications for the City of Nixa says the city is holding off on issuing the $500-per-day fine while the homeowner applies for permission. City documents show the operator applied for the special use permit and business license on June 29.
“Our motivation is not to penalize them, it’s to help get them in compliance and get them up and running correctly,” said Douglas.
OzarksFirst tried to get answers from the Airbnb operator, but she declined to comment for now.
“Ignorance of the law is not an excuse in this country, at least that’s what I was taught. You cannot tell me you can drive a car without a license and then belatedly say I’m sorry,” said Quiko.
Neighbors argue renters disturb the otherwise quiet family neighborhood and raise major safety concerns.
“We don’t know who comes in and out,” said Quiko.
The city ordinance says short-term rentals must also pass a yearly safety inspection. Nixa confirms the Airbnb on Scott Wayne Drive has not been inspected. After this story aired, the city clarified that the property on Scott Wayne Drive will not need an immediate inspection if approved for a short-term rental special use permit. Because it completed construction in October of 2021, Nixa city rules designate it as a new home that passed building inspections prior to being issued a certificate of occupancy.
Nixa doesn’t require a rental inspection until at least 12 months after the certificate of occupancy was issued, but not until the time the applicant is applying to renew their special use permit.
Douglas says the property owner in this case won’t need a rental inspection until January of 2023 if at that time she applies to renew her business license as a short-term rental property.
KOLR 10 Investigates obtained a copy of the homeowners’ association regulations at Old Castle Estates. The Airbnb also violates those rules.
Article 9 says each dwelling shall be devoted exclusively as a one-family dwelling, yet the short-term rental already got approval from Nixa Planning and Zoning.
The next step in the process takes place at 7 on Aug. 15 at Nixa City Hall. Council members will hear the homeowner’s case for a special use permit. The public can speak for up to five minutes and neighbors plan to.
Council is then expected to vote on whether or not to issue the operator a special use permit at the city council meeting on Aug. 22.
People who want to apply to operate a business legally in the city of Nixa can utilize the business concierge service to address any questions by calling 417-725-3785 and ask for Assistant City Administrator Cindy Robbins.
If you have a story you’d like KOLR 10 Investigates to look into, email investigative reporter Lauren Barnas at email@example.com.