Deferred Lawsuits Against Silver Creek Home Rental | Local News
A deal has been reached to postpone lawsuits over city citations related to the short-term rental of a house in Silver Creek, where issues have prompted residents to complain to Joplin Town officials.
Co-owners Rachel Bemo and Nathan Bemo have each been cited for the unauthorized operation of a rental at 4477 Bradley Ave. in the district of Joplin.
City attorney Joe Crosthwait said the home was advertised on Airbnb and other vacation rental services without obtaining the appropriate municipal license for short-term rental.
Attorney and defense attorney Jeremy Brown agreed the case would be put on hold for a year without further prosecution as long as there were no more complaints. Crothwait said it was not a plea deal.
“They did not plead guilty,” he said. “They have not been convicted. There is an agreement not to prosecute until there are further violations for this property,” Crosthwait told The Globe. In that case, the citations would be rejected within a year, he said.
City officials at a meeting Monday night said rentals had taken place before a municipal permit was obtained that would have allowed such rentals. When a permit application was completed and put on the September 13 agenda for a public hearing before the Joplin Planning and Zoning Commission, several residents opposed the permit.
A staff report prepared before the planning and zoning meeting indicated that while the residential character of the house would not be affected by its use for overnight stays, the landlord rented it out to large groups, sometimes exceeding 20 people.
“Additionally, the applicants had announced that the house could accommodate up to 26 people in total between the upper and lower levels of the house,” city staff noted in a report. “This number of people staying on an R-1 zoned property is not compatible” with the city’s zoning regulations.
The zoning permit application indicated that there was room for 16 people upstairs and 10 downstairs. A semi-circular driveway in front of the house was large enough to park 14 cars, the demand noted.
If issued, the permit would have been in effect for one year and would then have to be renewed.
City staff proposed a number of special conditions for the permit. One would have an occupancy limited to six people or to a number fixed by the municipal council when it heard the request.
This required the publication of information including permit information, the Joplin Town Noise Ordinance, the garbage collection schedule and a contact person.
But by that time, the app had already encountered some difficulties. There had been 65 protest petitions filed by the residents of Silver Creek. These included people who live in other parts of the Silver Creek neighborhood as well as those who live within 185 feet of the subject property. The number within 185 feet is important because if that number is greater than 30% of residents within that distance, it takes a two-thirds majority vote of a city commission or council to pass an application.
City Planning and Development Director Troy Bolander said his department had been told by the property manager that the owners had instead decided to make the property available for long-term rental rather than short-term.
City bylaws still required a public hearing, but Bolander said the commission would be asked to remove the special use permit application from the agenda or deny it.
The minutes of the meeting show that nine people spoke about the request.
Kyle Cox, who lives in the neighborhood, said around 150 people had stayed in the house in a month. “It is not easy for all families with neighborhood children playing. He said there was a lot of traffic and the narrow street in front of the houses sometimes did not have parking available for residents. due to the number of cars for hire.
Penny Amiet, who lives on Ivy Lane, said that as an example of the increase in traffic on the neighborhood street, she counted 47 cars coming and going in half an hour a day.
Gary Jordan, who lives on Bradley Drive, said he had posted “No Entry” signs in his yard due to trespassing from people staying in the rental home. But he said the people who used the house were constantly in his yard and one nearby. “We are facing additional debt for her business,” Rachel Bemo hints.
“I just wish the first time there was a party they called me,” Rachel Bemo said of the neighbors. “I would have gone and said ‘No, we are not doing this'” to the tenants. By the time the planning and zoning meeting was scheduled, Bemo said she knew what residents were going to say because she had read comments on social media.
Following complaints and petitions, the commission voted to recommend that city council deny the special use permit.
The city council heard similar complaints during its public hearing on the permit.
Bolander explained that the request for a special use permit was withdrawn by the owners of the house, but a public hearing has yet to take place.
Neighbors, some of them the same who spoke out against this at the planning and zoning meeting, voiced complaints during the council hearing about the big parties on the property and disturbing neighbors, as well as traffic, waste and trespassing issues.
Rachel Bemo told The Globe that she was heartbroken by what had happened because she herself had lived in the house for six years and considered many of those who complained to be friends. .
She said she put the house on the market to sell it, but it didn’t. Recalling the fun experiences with her family vacationing at Airbnb, she decided to try this out with her house.
“I told my neighbors I was doing this and they all supported me,” she said. “I had no idea it would turn into parties. Part of the problem was I was a little naive. I thought everyone was good people” and that didn’t turn out to be the case with all of them. tenants, she said.
By the time she realized there were problems, her neighbors were already upset.
Rachel Bemo said she was in communication with the city about the status of her permit application, but was unaware that a decision had been made to cite her and her brother, Nathan Bemo. Nathan Bemo could not be reached for comment on this report.
She said she believed city staff were aware there were rentals already booked until October 4, the day of the city council meeting in which the house was discussed.
“It was the last rental,” she says. “The city was aware of this and we spoke to them by email.”
The quotes came then. Copies of these were obtained from The Globe and they are dated September 29 and September 30 for rental September 17-19.
“I’m not happy,” said Rachel Bemo. “And that’s not how I wanted it to be. I love my neighbors. But I guess it’s a learning point for me.”
She said she was not a reckless owner.
“I tried something new and it didn’t work,” she said. “I learned a lot and I hope the city too.