Overland Park ordinance would levy fines for ‘nuisance’ parties at vacation rentals

Following a deadly shooting in April at a home being used as a short-term rental, above, the Overland Park Public Safety Committee discussed a new nuisance party ordinance. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Overland Park is closer to finalizing new rules for “nuisance” parties within city limits following a deadly shooting earlier this year that took place at a home being used as a short-term vacation rental.

Driving the news: The Overland Park City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Wednesday approved city staff’s recommendation for a nuisance party ordinance.

  • The measure defines a “nuisance” party as a social gathering of five or more people on a residential property that leads to criminal violations disturbing surrounding properties.
  • The ordinance would allow the city to penalize residents who create a “disturbance of the quiet enjoyment of residential property,” according to city documents.

What led up to this: Discussion about such an ordinance in Overland Park started after a shooting in March at a short-term rental near 145th Street and Switzer Road that left a Wichita woman dead.

  • A Topeka man was later charged with second-degree murder in the shooting, which took place amid a gathering of people — many of whom were from out of state — at the home which had been rented out for a birthday celebration.
  • One month after the shooting, the city began discussing the possibility of regulating short-term rentals.
  • A city-led survey to get community feedback on how to regulate the properties was conducted over the summer.
  • In August, the results were presented to the city council, which found a nuisance party ordinance to be favorable among many residents.

The details: With the ordinance approved by the committee Wednesday, Overland Park Police could cite individuals present at a party for their conduct.

  • The person renting the property or the owner of the property could also be subject to fines.
  • If someone is cited, it would be classified as a misdemeanor that could result in up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
  • A total of 13 potential criminal violations are listed under the ordinance, including property damage, littering, discharging a firearm, trespassing on adjacent property and unlawful possession of alcohol.

Key quote: “While the purpose of this ordinance was to go after short-term rentals, it can also be used against actual homeowners if those houses are being used as party houses or long-term rentals, as well,” said Eric Blevins, Overland Park assistant city attorney.

Overland Park rental ordinance
The short-term rental nuisance ordinance will now go before the full Overland Park City Council. Image courtesy of City of Overland Park website

Next steps for rental ordinances

Now that the ordinance received support from the committee, it will come before the Overland Park City Council for further consideration at its Sept. 19 meeting.

  • If the ordinance wins final approval from the council, Overland Park Police will undertake an education and outreach program to notify some of the rental properties about the ordinance, Blevins said.
  • It’s unclear how many short-term rentals there are in Overland Park: the citywide survey conducted earlier this summer found 102 short-term rentals, more than half of which were in single-family homes, but city officials said it was likely the survey did not turn up all the short-term rentals in the city.