Deferred Prosecution in Case of Silver Creek House Rental | Local news
An agreement was reached to defer prosecution of city allegations related to short-term rentals of a home in Silver Creek, the problems of which led residents to complain to Joplin City officials.
Co-owners Rachel Bemo and Nathan Bemo were each charged with illegally operating a rental apartment on Bradley Ave. 4477 in the Joplin district.
City attorney Joe Crosthwait said the home was advertised on Airbnb and other vacation rental services without getting proper city approval for a short-term rental.
Prosecutor and defense attorney Jeremy Brown agreed that the case would be put on hold for a year without further prosecution, pending complaints. Crosthwait said it was not an agreement.
“You plead not guilty,” he said. “You have not been convicted. There is an agreement not to prosecute as long as there are no further violations of this property, ”Crosthwait told the Globe. In that case, the quotes would be dismissed in a year, he said.
City officials said at a meeting Monday evening that the rental took place before a city permit was obtained that would have allowed such a rental. When a permit application was filled out and placed on the September 13th agenda for a public hearing before the Joplin Planning and Development Commission, several residents declined the permit.
In a personnel report prepared before the planning and zone meeting, it is said that the residential character of the house will not be changed by the overnight use, but that the owner has rented it out to large groups, sometimes consisting of more than 20 people.
“In addition, the applicants had advertised that the house could sleep a total of up to 26 people between the upper and lower floors of the house,” stated municipal employees in a report. “This number of people who are on a property with the zone R-1 is not compatible with the zoning regulations of the city.
The building permit application stated that there was space for 16 people on the upper floor and 10 people on the ground floor. A semicircular driveway in front of the house is big enough to park 14 cars, according to the application.
If granted, the permit would have been valid for one year and would then have to be renewed.
City officials suggested a number of special conditions for approval. Occupancy would have been limited to six, or a number set by the city council when he heard the request.
It required the publication of information including the permit information, Joplin City Noise Ordinance, garbage disposal plan and a contact person.
At this point, however, the application had already encountered difficulties. There were 65 petitions to protest from Silver Creek residents. This included people who live in other parts of the Silver Creek neighborhood, as well as those who live within 185 feet of the property in question. The number within 185 feet is important because if that number is more than 30% of the residents within that distance, a two-thirds majority from a city commission or council is required to pass a motion.
The city’s planning and development director, Troy Bolander, said his department had been informed by the property manager that the owners have instead chosen to make the property available on a regular basis rather than for short-term use.
City regulations still required a public hearing, but Bolander said the commission would be asked to remove or reject the application for the special use permit.
The minutes of the meeting show that nine people spoke about the request.
Kyle Cox, who lives in the neighborhood, said there were about 150 people living in the house in a month. “That is uneasy for all families with children playing in the neighborhood. He said there was a lot of traffic and the narrow street in front of the houses sometimes doesn’t have parking for residents because there are lots of cars for the rental house.
Penny Amiet, who lives on Ivy Lane, said, as an example of the increase in traffic on the neighborhood street, she counted 47 cars in one day going in and out in half an hour.
Gary Jordan, who lives on Bradley Drive, said he posted “No Trespassing” signs in his yard because people who lived in the rented apartment had invaded. But he said the people who used the house were always in his garden and one nearby. “We’re facing additional business liabilities,” referring to Rachel Bemo.
“I just wish they called me the first time,” Rachel Bemo said of the neighbors. “I would have gone and said ‘No, we won’t do that’” to the tenants. When the planning and zoning meeting was scheduled, Bemo said she knew what residents would say because she read comments on social media.
As a result of the complaints and petitions, the commission decided to recommend that the city council refuse the special use permit.
The city council heard similar complaints at its public hearing for approval.
Bolander said the application for special use permit had been withdrawn by the homeowners, but a public hearing had yet to take place.
Neighbors, some of whom were the same who opposed the planning and zoning meeting, raised complaints at the council hearing about large parties on the property and nuisance neighbors, as well as problems with traffic, litter and trespassing.
Rachel Bemo told the Globe that she was sad about what happened because she had lived in the house herself for six years and considered many of those who complained to be friends.
She said she put the house on the market to sell, but it didn’t. She recalled fun experiences with her family vacationing on Airbnb and decided to give this a try with her house.
“I told my neighbors I would do this and they all supported,” she said. “I didn’t know it was going to be a party. Part of the problem is that I was a little naive. I thought all people were good people. ”And that wasn’t the case with all tenants, she said.
When she realized there was trouble, her neighbors were already upset.
Rachel Bemo said she communicated with the city about the status of her permit application but was unaware that a decision had been made to quote her and her brother Nathan Bemo. Nathan Bemo was not available for comment on this report.
She said she believed city officials knew that rental apartments were already booked by October 4, the day of the city council meeting that discussed the house.
“That was the last rent,” she said. “The city was aware of this and we had informed them about it by email.”
The quotes then came. Copies of these have been obtained from the Globe and are dated September 29th and September 30th for loan September 17th through 19th.
“I’m not happy,” said Rachel Bemo. “And that’s not how I wanted it. I love my neighbors. But I think that’s a point of learning for me. “
She said she was not a ruthless owner.
“I tried something new and it didn’t work,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot and I hope the city does too.”