Roeland Park approves 8 percent hotel tax for anticipated development; applies immediately to Airbnb lodgings

Vacant for decades, the former Merriam pool site is being prepared for redevelopment.
Vacant for decades, the former Roeland Park pool site is being prepared for redevelopment which could include a hotel. File photo

By Holly Cook

A new city-wide 8 percent hotel/motel tax was unanimously approved by the Roeland Park City Council during last week’s meeting. The tax was proposed in anticipation of a potential hotel development at the old pool site, but will immediately apply to visitors staying at Airbnb lodgings in Roeland Park.

City Administrator Keith Moody said the feasibility study on the proposed $14 million hotel “came back favorable” and that the city was now waiting for a conceptual site plan. Talks on whether to sell or lease the land to the interested developer, Sunflower Development Group, are ongoing.
The 8 percent tax is expected to generate about $73,000 a year from the hotel.

The city plans to use community improvement district (CID) funds and the hotel tax to make about $600,000 in improvements to the old pool site. Upgrades will include the construction a connection between the upper and lower portion of the development and an access road to Roe Boulevard.
After these renovations are paid off, the tax revenue can be used for any expense that supports Roeland Park tourism.

Moody said the city settled on an 8 percent tax following research on what neighboring cities charge. Mission and Overland Park each have a 9 percent hotel/motel tax while Leawood’s tax is 8 percent and Merriam’s is 7 percent.

Councilmember Teresa Kelly made the motion to approve the tax and Councilmember Sheri McNeil seconded the motion.