City officials hope they have hosted their last 400-guest weekend party at a rented home.
City Council introduced legislation Monday night that would tighten renting laws in the city in response to a loud, wild house party thrown at 27066 Lake Road nearly three weeks ago that police had to break up after it attracted hundreds of people and drew nearly a dozen complaints from neighbors.
“The goal of this new legislation is to give our laws some teeth regarding short-term rentals,” Law Director Mark Barbour said.
The legislation will prohibit any short-term rental less than 30 days in residential districts, which generally covers 95% of the city. Violators will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor and could be fined up to $1,000. It’s expected to become law Nov. 18.
Bay Village’s current renting laws are relatively relaxed, not prohibiting any form of short-term rental. However, the city discourages frequent rentals as it’s considered a home business, which is not permitted. Property owners who rent frequently are required to get a license to do so, Barbour said.
“We had been talking about this ordinance for a couple weeks based on a couple of complaints we had received for this very same house from neighbors” Barbour said in a committee meeting on Oct. 7. “We looked at several cities, Lyndhurst, North Olmsted, Rocky River (for our new legislation).”
Councilwoman Lydia DeGeorge who represents the ward where the lakefront party was held welcomed the new law.
“I support not permitting these parties inside of Bay Village,” she said. “We’re residential, people move here not to be exposed to that type of party atmosphere.”
The city had received several complaints over the last year regarding renters disturbing the peace, Mayor Paul Koomar said. Officials began pursuing new changes to the city’s rental laws on Oct. 7 during a committee meeting following the party.
“What happened a few weeks ago certainly sped this process up,” he said.
The city’s building department frequently monitors the popular rental website Airbnb to see if any new listings in the city are posted. Cease and desist letters are then sent to the owners involved.
Police responded to 11 complaints on Oct. 5 about the party celebrating an Akron man’s 23rd birthday. Eric Andrus, a rising rapper, told police that his friend had rented the home for the weekend through Airbnb.
A total of 14 officers from Bay and three neighboring departments began to break up the party at 1 a.m. after several warnings to keep the noise down. It took them five hours until everyone was gone. No damages to the property were reported and there were no injuries or arrests.
Officials are still investigating circumstances surrounding the party including how the 13-room house, a $1.78 million mansion overlooking Lake Erie, was rented. The homeowner said that the house was not rented that weekend and that no parties are allowed. Detectives are now looking for a third party who may have run a rental scam targeting Andrus, Barbour said.
The home previously had been rented by former Cavaliers guard J.R Smith.
Renting laws have become a primary focus of a number of area cities. Officials in Rocky River ratified “limited lodging” legislation in 2018 that restricts Airbnb rentals in residential districts and prohibits renting to office, business, service manufacturing and mixed-use overlay districts, Law Director Andy Bemer said.
On Airbnb, there are two homes listed for rent in Bay Village. Other lakeside communities such as Rocky River and Avon Lake offer a number of home and private room rentals ranging from $20-$200 a night.
Koomar believes this legislation will prevent future parties, like the one thrown on Oct. 5, and preserve the city’s idyllic charm.
“We’ll be able to protect our residents better,” Koomar said. “I don’t think anyone envisions a loud party every weekend when they move here, we need to honor the residential nature of this community.”
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