Also in attendance for the discussion was representatives from the Tri-County Lodging Association, LOZ Vacation Home Alliance, as well as Lake of the Ozarks, Bagnell Dam and Missouri Realtors associations

Commissioners from Camden, Miller and Morgan counties are seeking a consensus on vacation rentals to present to legislators in Jefferson City as several bills intended to address the subject are currently floating around the Missouri General Assembly.

House Bill 608, sponsored by State Rep. Sonya Anderson (R-Springfield) and co-sponsored by State Rep. Rocky Miller (R-Lake Ozark) and House Bill 632, sponsored by State Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) were the two biggest topics of conversations during a public meeting held Wednesday on the third floor of the courthouse.

HB-608 prohibits “political subdivisions from enacting or enforcing ordinances that prohibit or unreasonably restrict residential dwelling rentals, or regulate the rentals based solely on their use as a residential dwelling rental,” while HB-632 “requires real property used for both a personal residence and as transient housing to be assessed as only residential property.”

Also in attendance for the discussion was representatives from the Tri-County Lodging Association, LOZ Vacation Home Alliance, as well as Lake of the Ozarks, Bagnell Dam and Missouri Realtors associations

Realtor Kathy Hagan, the 2017 President of the Lake of the Ozarks Board of Realtors, said realtors recently met with the legislators behind the bill and expressed concerns regarding some of the bills’ language.

“I came away with the thought that they were becoming more aware of our concerns,” Hagan said. “The state does not want to be responsible for legislating this whole thing, they want it moved back to the counties to decide whether or not to implement (regulations).”

Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty said he was worried about excessive regulations on residential homes being rented that currently do not apply.

“I don’t think this commission is in any position to regulate,” Hasty said. “We don’t have any money to regulate anything. We don’t have any tools to regulate anything. This county is spending thousands of dollars over the last year on litigation it is crushing our county budget, absolutely crushing it.”

Nancy Rogers of the Missouri Association of Realtors said she was a part of the group that met with legislators and were supportive of these two bills.

“The board of directors did pass two motions to support these two house bills,” she said. “These properties will be assessed as residential, end of discussion.”

Ryan Gattermeir, member of the Bagnell Dam Association of Realtors and President of the 2017 Missouri Association of Realtors, explained why realtors were behind the proposed legislation.

“We evaluated it very closely, we didn’t see anything in the bills that really imposed any new regulations,” he said. “Right now counties and cities, if you want, can enforce any rules you currently have, those that are already out there. What the concern is and why 608 came to light was the concerns that you have cities and counties saying no more nightly rentals, with this legislation you cannot impose any undue regulations and certainly banning would be undue.”

Stacy Shore, a local realtor and representative for Lake of the Ozarks Vacation Home Alliance, said the commissioners should focus on the exact language and definitions of the proposed legislature and how it could potentially create a new classification of properties.

“I believe under a residential dwelling, we have sanctuary under that definition. I see the nuances, definitions matter. I don’t like the definition of transient,” Shore said. “I believe in lodging tax; I believe in sales tax. Property rights do matter and there are revocations of those in these laws. I love the intent of what she’s trying to accomplish, but I still feel we’re empowering political subdivisions to regulate heavily, if we get a rogue commission.”

Sue Westenhaver, TCLA chairwoman, said they were in attendance because the entity wants proper collection and remittance of the lodging tax from nightly rentals.

“Unless the vacation rental is on the facilitation platform, we have no way of knowing,” Westenhaver said. “There are still a number of people who do use the marketing platform, we have no way of going to VRBO and finding out someone has a listing. It comes back to the honor system on the marketing platform.”

Jim Divincin, executive director of TCLA, said the taxing entity has not taken a position on either bills and a strong possibility they will not in the future.

Local realtor Phyllis Morris said many of her clients feel as though they have not been heard during this process and asked the commissioners if another public meeting could be held at a different time and location to provide people with a better chance to attend.

“They want to be heard. They’re concerned that they’re not getting a voice,” Morris said. “We have all of us stakeholders here, but very few private property owners. My homeowners would like to be heard.”

Hasty agreed and said his office would work with Camdenton Middle School Little Theatre to set up a public meeting during a weekday evening. Commissioners from Morgan and Miller County said they wanted to take more time to review the legislation and talk to constituents before issuing a stance.

“We need to issue something joint to the legislators, this needs to be fixed through legislation,” Hasty said. “Things are changing so fast. Five years down the road things will be way different than they are now.”