LAKE OZARK, Mo. — The City of Lake Ozark has announced a crackdown on nightly rentals in some residential districts, which the city says are illegal.
"Abuses of the city’s zoning ordinances in recent years have caused issues with neighbors, and in a handful of instances have resulted in costly court cases that the city eventually won," the city said in a press release.
City staff and the board of aldermen discussed the nightly rental issue at length during a special workshop recently.
Per city zoning, nightly rentals are prohibited in R-1 and R-2 single family residential areas, however, many homeowners have continued renting their homes on a short-term basis, and the city says neighbors have complained about parking problems, property abuse and noise.
“Things went awry on Welsh Road a few years ago when we waited too long to take action,” City Administrator Dave Van Dee explained. “We took the nice approach, we trusted them. We’re not taking that approach anymore. We’re putting property owners on notice that it’s illegal. If you tell us you stopped, and we find that you haven’t, then we’ll take legal action.”
Assistant City Administrator Harrison Fry recently issued a cease and desist letter to a violating property owner who responded that it would no longer be a problem.
“If we get a claim that there are people renting, we will deal with it accordingly,” he said. “We’ll have officers go over and take notes on who’s there and who owns the property and find out if they’re actually renting and then forward the information to the city attorney so he can begin to build a case.”
“If we need to, we will file for an injunction in Miller County court,” Van Dee said. “We’re going to be proactive and up front with this issue now.”
In past years, the city has fought homeowners on Twin Oaks, Welsh Road and Beacon Point. “The city won all three of those challenges,” Van Dee said.
City officials stress that overnight rentals are only prohibited in R-1 and R-2 single family districts. Also prohibited in R-1 and R-2 districts are mobile homes, lodging or boarding houses and lodging establishes.
Properties in Lakefront Mixed Use, R-3 multi-family and marine-related commercial districts, lakefront eating and drinking places and similar water-related uses can have nightly rentals, per city zoning.
The city is also urging real estate agents or others who are listing their properties online for short-term rentals to make sure they are familiar with zoning ordinances.