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JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Planning and Zoning Commission is working to change the city's policy on short term rentals through websites like Airbnb. 

The commission approved a measure during its meeting Thursday to change the city's current policy of not allowing short term rentals in residential areas. 

Commission Chairman Chris Jordan said he hopes this will encourage would be renters to do so lawfully. 

"We have changed the law so any homeowner can use their property to rent to folks on a short term basis, and do it without disturbing their neighbors by following the city's code," Jimsen said. 

Despite this clear restriction, there are currently several listings on Jefferson City's Airbnb page. This is because the city has treated short-term rentals the same way as hotels, meaning it is permitted only in commercial areas. Because many homes in Jefferson City are located in commercial districts, many listings have been legally posted. 

The planning and zoning commission seeks to change the city's policy by separating the definitions of hotels and residential homes with rooms to rent. 

Homeowners in residential areas looking to rent out a room through Airbnb will need to receive a special exception permit through the city. 

The planning and zoning commission will individually approve each applicant for the permit. 

City staff member Eric Barron said the city must regulate these processes now that they are trying to legalize it. 

"There are a variety of possible concerns neighbors could have to having a short term rental house right next to them. We want to make sure the renter knows about everything, from noise to parking. 

The measure passed by the commission Thursday will need approval from the Jefferson City Council. 

The council is expected to vote on the law amendment in a meeting this December.

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