PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria City Council on Tuesday approved a short-term rental property that has been the source of contention from some neighbors.
1506 West Teton is located in the Willow Knolls South neighborhood in North Peoria.
Kathy Matlock, who has lived in Willow Knolls South for more than 20 years, said the neighborhood is a tight-knit community.
“The neighborhood is a neighborhood of people who do things together. We’re not just a collection of houses of random people, we do things together,” she said.
Matlock said 73% of her neighbors are against 1506 West Teton continuing to operate as a short-term rental, informally referred to as an Airbnb.
“There’s a new car in that driveway every weekend,” she said. “I feel like our opinion should be valued because we live it. We are in that neighborhood every day.”
But at Tuesday night’s Peoria City Council meeting, the motion passed 6-3.
At-Large Councilman John Kelly, who supported the short-term rental, said the homeowner has not broken any rules so far.
“There haven’t been any problems, so I’m inclined to approve it,” he said.
At-Large Councilwoman Beth Jensen was one of the “no” votes, along with First District Councilwoman Denise Jackson and Second District Councilman Chuck Grayeb.
“I’m very discouraged, it’s very disheartening,” said Jensen. “In all the years I’ve lived in the city of Peoria, we’ve never had a council that has been so tone-deaf when it comes to neighbors and residents,” she said.
Josh Lee, who owns 1506 West Teton but lives in New York, pushed back against Matlock’s claim that nearly three-quarters of the neighborhood were against the rental.
“The HOA [Homeowners Association] circulated a petition and a member of the neighborhood skewed the findings at the council meeting,” he said.
Lee said only half of the residents responded to Matlock’s survey, so the percentage of residents opposed to the short-term rental is about 36%.
“Most people in the neighborhood had no idea this home was an Airbnb until I applied for a non-owner-occupied license and the city required us to place public hearing signs in our yard,” said Lee. “I have spoken with many of my closest neighbors geographically, who have expressed written support to the Council.”
Lee added he lived and rented part of the home while in Peoria. He began to rent out the entire house when he moved to New York in October 2021.