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Lake Ozark Recommends Lifting The Ban On Vacation Rentals

BySusan Lane

Dec 9, 2022

Lake Ozark homeowners might soon be allowed to rent their homes to tourists.

The Lake Ozark Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend that the City Board of Aldermen repeal a ban on short-term vacation rentals in Residential 1 and 2 single-family zonings. At their Wednesday, December 6 meeting at Lake Ozark City Hall, the P&Z Commission made this recommendation.

The recommendation was approved by five-to-two. The two no-votes were Commissioner Mike Kolar and Chairman Margaret Davis. Zoom allowed Commissioner Mike Otten to attend the meeting. Nightly rentals are currently prohibited in R-1 single-family residential areas. Next, the recommendation will be presented to the Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen. It will be considered at their Tuesday, December 13 meeting at City Hall at 6 p.m.

Standing Room Only

The meeting was attended by approximately 75 citizens and seven employees. Rick Hasty, Planning and Zoning Commissioner said that this was the largest attendance at a meeting of the planning and zoning commission in the six years he has been here.

Many people in the room raised their hands when asked if they have ever stayed in a temporary rental. However, there was heated debate about whether such a rental situation belongs in Lake Ozark. Mayor Dennis Newberry stated that Lake Ozark is the only city in the Lake of the Ozarks that prohibits short-term rentals.

People have been renting their homes to vacationers since the 1950s.” Since the 1950s .”

Margaret Davis, Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, moved to place the question on the ballot so that Lake Ozark residents could decide. Davis stated, “We need growth to be successful. But this is not the way.” “I’m against this. “The citizens have spoken.” Christopher Rohrer, the City Attorney, stated that the city didn’t have any code provisions that would permit them to put such a question on a poll. Rohrer stated that the motion was not appropriate.


The following points were made by citizens during the open forum in opposition to the lifting of the ban on short-term vacation rentals.

They will lower property values

* Traffic will increase on already congested roads

They will create traffic and parking problems

Increase noise, trash, crime, parties, as well as boats

* Properties would fall because renters don’t care

* Reduced safety

They bought their home because of the beauty and serenity that surrounds it. This will destroy their investment and ruin their quality of life

This will highlight an already insufficient police force

* Infractions will not be enforced by the police

* Short-term rentals are not subject to taxes and the city has no authority to collect fees.

* Not all of the short-term renters are residents of Lake Ozark

* The suggestion of putting the question on the ballot to allow citizens to vote was met with applause

One citizen understood a short-term rental to be a business. “The definition of commerce is making money from a commercial service, and if there was a ban on it, homeowners could use their residence for commercial purposes.”

Scott Barnes, a Lake Ozark resident suggested grounds for a lawsuit in the event that the ban was lifted. This was because Mayor Dennis Newberry’s real estate license was a “conflict” of interest.

Comments to lift the ban on short-term vacation rentals

* Insufficient hotels exist in the city

* Will boost tourism

* The city runs on sales tax. Renting would raise sales tax through higher business revenue

* Property that can be used to generate rental income will be purchased by investors

* Investors will maintain their properties because this is how they will continue to earn rental income

* Investing in property will bring more development, business, and jobs to the city

* It is not a bed and breakfast-community.

* Residents will sue the city if they are not allowed to generate rental income

* Fines will be assessed for people who break city ordinances. Each subsequent offense will result in a higher fine

Homeowners Associations

Andy Prewitt, a Lake Ozark businessman suggested that citizens who don’t want short-term rentals in the neighborhood could form a homeowner’s association to oversee what happens there. Prewitt said that there are more than 30 short-term rentals within the city limits. They are not being properly regulated. “This could expose the city to liability due to enforcement of some households and not others.” Mayor Newberry offered assistance to anyone needing help in forming a neighborhood homeowner’s association.

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