Wichita vice-mayor provides update on Airbnb, homicide site

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Just days after a fatal Airbnb shooting in Wichita, Deputy Mayor Brandon Johnson says the house shouldn’t have been an Airbnb site.

At around 3 a.m. on Sunday, there was a shooting at the home at 254 N. Battin Avenue. Elijah Davis, 20, of Wichita, was found dead in the backyard of the house. Three other victims were injured but have already been discharged from the hospital.

Johnson says neighbors in the Crown Heights area of ​​Wichita have expressed concern over using the home as Airbnb.

Today, he took to social media to say he learned that 254 N. Battin Avenue is zoned SF-5 Single Family. He says a hotel or motel there is a violation of the zoning code.

Johnson says hotels and / or motels are only allowed in these areas:

  • GO General Office
  • LC Local Commercial
  • GC General Commercial
  • CBD Central Business District
  • LI Limited Industrial
  • IG General Industrial
  • AFB Air Base

He says he plans to hold a virtual meeting next week with residents as the city searches for a solution.

“I hope the citizens give us enough information, thoughts and ideas to find a solution that works to protect neighborhoods, as well as to allow people who want to get a little extra income to get it.” Johnson said.

KSN has also contacted City Manager Robert Layton. He sent us this response:

In response to this week’s incident with a short-term rental home in Crown Heights, City staff are reviewing current policies relating to these homes. A multi-ministerial working group is being formed to consider rewriting the regulations regarding the temporary rental of rooms or houses in the community. We want to balance the demand for accommodation for visitors and tourists with the safety of our neighborhoods. “

Robert Layton, City Manager of Wichita

Wichita Airbnb owner Heath Bechler said Sunday’s incident was not representative of all short-term renters.

“99.9% of people interested in renting Airbnb you know are law abiding,” she said. “They’re just ordinary people looking to either take a break from accommodation or, you know, feel a lot more comfortable.”

Airbnb sent KSN a statement on Sunday saying it was investigating.

“Airbnb bans parties and we are appalled by the violence reported. Our team is urgently investigating this incident and has contacted the Wichita Police Department to assist with their investigation. “

The statement went on to say that the home ad has been disabled for the time being and the guest’s account has been suspended while the Airbnb team investigates.

KSN continues to investigate the homicide and the Airbnb issue. We will provide updates as they become available.

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