Overland family wants city to approve Airbnb permit

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OVERLAND, MO - An Overland family was running an Airbnb listing for about 15 months when it received a cease and desist letter from the city citing a zoning violation. They are now going through the appropriate channels to try to obtain a conditional use permit in hopes of getting their business back up and running.

Sarah Warren lives in the Overland home she grew up in with her husband and four children. They bought the more than 100-year-old home from her parents and began listing the 500 square foot apartment above the garage for $80 per night on the property rental site Airbnb.

"The great thing about this platform is I can pre-screen people and chat with them in advance," said Warren about Airbnb. "I can see their previous reviews, I can find out how many people are staying, and I can have ground rules like no fire, no parties, and if they violate it, they have to leave my home."

Warren said they rented to couples on a weekend getaway, business people searching for a room near the airport, and families looking for a comfortable place to stay while vacationing. Warren estimates she had 80 to 100 reservations during the 15 months she was listed bringing in about $2,000 a month for her family.

"It was a really nice stay-at-home-mom job."

Since the city intervened last year, Warren said she has filled out business applications, had the fire marshal out to approve the space, and gone through several inspections including working to make the space ADA accessible.

Warren has heard of some of the horror stories about Airbnb guests but said her screening process and the fact that she lives on the property deters bad behavior.

"I've had three bands stay. Two of them were wonderful, but one of them smoked out of my bathroom, so they were promptly removed by Airbnb."

Local Airbnb hosts are invested in making their communities a better place, according to Warren, and the service offers a win-win-win for hosts, guests, and communities.

“We’re wanting to make upgrades to our home, we’re wanting to increase property values, we’re wanting to make our homes look beautiful.”

Warren said by maintaining a quality property, her host rating increases which attract more guests. As a lifelong Overland resident, she maintains a binder for her guests of suggested places to visit, eat and shop encouraging more tourism in the municipality.

Warren will present her proposal to the Planning and Zoning Committee on July 31. If her proposal passes, she will then present it to the City Council on August 13.

Warren has received support on social media from others in the Overland community, but one neighbor expressed concerns to Fox 2 about Warren's venture. She is worried about her privacy and says she plans to voice her opposition to the proposal at an upcoming meeting.

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