City will change policy on issuing special-use permits for Airbnb

The City of Kirksville is looking to update the policy to issue special-use permits to operate an Airbnb residence.

Currently, there are two Airbnb locations in Kirksville operating in compliance with the city law that requires a special-use permit. Kirksville City Planner Chayton True said the city rejected one special-use permit for operating an Airbnb location after a public hearing showed there was little support for the business among neighbors.

True said to operate an Airbnb residence, citizens first need to apply for the special-use permit with the Planning and Zoning Commission where it is reviewed and where additional conditions might be applied. The Planning and Zoning Commission holds a public hearing, then gives its recommendation to Kirksville City Council to grant or deny the permit, he said. The City Council hosts another public hearing before voting. In total, the process takes about two months.  

True said the proposed policy is meant to define Airbnb locations and help guide the Planning and Zoning Commision through the process of granting permits. He said the new policy defines Airbnb locations in separate ways to differentiate between the various housing options Airbnb allows for. True said people can temporarily rent out an entire residence or a portion of it, but this requires a host on site during overnight hours. The new policy would restrict Airbnb locations to a maximum of four guests and a maximum one-month stay.

“We’re not trying to shut down Airbnbs in town,” True said. “We are just trying to make sure they are doing everything they can to make sure they are not adversely affecting the quality of life of their neighbors around them.”