City of Shawnee

Co-Living Zoning Code Changes

Co-Living Zoning Code Changes
Posted on 05/02/2022

The Shawnee City Council voted unanimously on Monday, April 25, 2022 to approve text amendments to Shawnee Municipal Code Title 17, Zoning, related to Room Rental in Residential Zoning Districts. The vote was 7 to 0 with one Councilmember absent.  The Mayor was not required to and did not vote on this issue. 


Previous to the vote and discussion at the April 25, 2022City Council meeting, this item was discussed with the Governing Body at theFebruary 28, 2022City Council meeting and the March 28, 2022City Council meeting.  The action was part of a text amendment to the zoning ordinance which required a public hearing at the Planning Commission.  This was held at the March 7, 2022 Planning Commission meeting and was discussed again at the March 21, 2022 Planning Commission meeting.   


The revisions to the zoning code: 

    • Revise the definition of “family” for R-1 single family residential districts (Ordinance 17.04.120) to include: (1) any number of related persons living together; or (2) not more than 3 unrelated adults living as a single housekeeping unit. Any minor related to a person covered by the definition of family is included in that family, including foster children and other legal custody arrangements of minors. 
    •  Define “single housekeeping unit” as “a group of non-transient persons that occupies a dwelling with common kitchen facilities and shares household activities or responsibilities.” Thus, three unrelated adults living together would need to live like a household in a R-1 zone.
    • Preserve the existing option for a family to house 1 boarder as a home occupation (Ordinance 17.66.020). 
    • Co-Living Group means a group of four (4) or more unrelated persons who are eighteen (18) or older living together in a dwelling unit which contains housekeeping facilities for only one family.  If an adult person is unrelated to another adult person in the dwelling unit, unless they meet the definition of a family, all persons over the age of 18 shall be classified as unrelated for purposes of calculating a co-living group occupancy limit of three persons. This section does not apply to a Group Home as defined by Chapter 17.04. 
    • Prohibit Co-Living Groups and Rooming Houses (which is already defined in Ordinance 17.04.311) in all residential districts. The prohibition is expressly stated in the regulations for each zoning district and reflected in the Table of Uses matrix in Ordinance 17.51.010. 


Enforcement of this ordinance is handled on a complaint basis. Upon receiving a complaint, City staff will initiate an investigation to determine if the property is in violation of the Shawnee Municipal Code. The existing use of a property prior to the effective date of the ordinance, May 3, 2022, is vested and considered an allowed use.  


If you would like to listen to the Council's discussion, view the agenda, packet memo and more, you can click hereYou can click on "Audio" above the agenda to listen and watch the discussion or just click here. 


As a clarification, please see the examples below:   

    •  Residents can still have roommates as allowed in the ordinance.
    • Properties can still be rented including single-family homes. 
    • Homeowners cannot rent a house to four or more people who are all unrelated. 
    • Homeowners can rent a property to three or less unrelated individuals. 
    • For example, an empty nester couple can rent a room to a college student. 
    • Families are not allowed to have more than three unrelated adults or a mix of three related/unrelated adults in the household.