City council decides on policy for additional property owners to apply for short-term rentals in St. Charles

City of St. Charles council members are coming back to the table to talk about short-term rentals.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2022 at 7:17 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - City of St. Charles council members came back to the table Tuesday night to talk about short-term rentals. This is a story News 4 has been following since the summer.

The potential is obvious to Jennifer Kohm as she walked through her second short-term rental property in St. Charles. Her investment has remained empty for the last two months.

“We went to close and found out as soon as we went to city hall on the closing date, we found out they no longer allowed the Airbnb to exist,” Kohm said.

News 4 was at that August 2nd city council meeting where city leaders decided to allow no more than 130 short-term rentals in residential areas, citywide. Also, it was decided these properties must be at least 500 feet apart.

“There’s a lot of people who bought property anticipating opening short-term rentals,” Mayor Dan Borgmeyer explained. “They say, ‘Hey we closed on this property, we made this investment, and now you’ve slammed the door down,’ and the council has been sensitive to that.”

On Tuesday, Councilmember Chris Kyle proposed a moratorium pausing the 500-foot buffer requirement for 20 days. The goal is to give people time to apply for permits, allowing them to use their property as a short-term rental.

When the 500-foot buffer is reinstated, it won’t apply to these new property owners. Mayor Borgmeyer said the city needs this to prosper.

“Lindenwood just went D1, there’s a stronger demand for those housing operations,” Mayor Borgmeyer shared. “For what we have going on economically, we predict a million more people in St. Charles per year, starting next year.”

“We can’t say we are going to bring a million more people in but not have more apartments, hotels, or STRs. There is a balance the city has to weigh in on and make a decision,” Borgmeyer added.

“We have very strict no-party policy,” Kohm shared. “We put it on bold print. We make sure they agree to it. We have a 10 p.m. noise cutoff. We’ve had neighbors come up and say thank you because they like our property as a neighbor over previous owners.”

Some residents fear these rentals will reduce the amount of housing available for families looking for a permanent home.

Realtor Dawn Begley said that’s not possible in St. Charles because of the distance buffer.

“I don’t see that at that impact for now. I think that’s market specific and we aren’t there at this time,” Begley said.

“It’s hard for people to absorb is this was a bedroom community 10, 20, 30 years ago, now it’s not. Now we are a viable, high tourist destination and now you have this demand,” Borgmeyer explained. “It’s impacting neighborhoods. I think the current ordinances will protect neighborhoods, in commercial areas, it’s wide open.”

As for Kohm, not being able to book guests at her sixth street property, is really a loss for St. Charles.

“It’s definitely increasing their values, bringing in life, and business which I see as a good thing,” Kohm said.

Tuesday night, the council decided there can only be 130 short-term rentals and they must be 500 feet apart. They also decided on a 20-day moratorium, which means individuals like Kohm will have to wait until Oct. 24 to apply for a permit allowing them to operate a short-term rental.