Island ‘party house’ draws complaints from neighbors
by Associated Press Wire
September 20, 2012 12:00 AM | 371 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Jeff and Lee Burton built their dream home in St. Simons Island’s East Beach neighborhood with every intention of moving into it.

They named the multi-million dollar waterfront estate Villa de Suenos, Spanish for house of dreams, but when the economy soured, so did their dream. Instead of moving in, they put the house up for rent.

“If we weren’t renting it out, the bank would own it,” Jeff Burton said Tuesday.

Like many other houses at East Beach and around St. Simons, Villa de Suenos is rented as a short-term vacation property.

Unlike most other short-term rentals, however, it frequently hosts weddings, large parties and other events. That activity has sparked numerous complaints from East Beach residents that caught the attention of the Glynn County Commission.

East Beach residents say the parties are noisy, increase traffic on the narrow street and pose parking problems. For months, county commissioners have been searching for a way to regulate what they deem a commercial use of the residential property.

But Burton counters that guests at his house cause no more problems than guests at any other short-term rental on the island.

“When noise is a problem — and it is a problem at a lot of places — the police come and it gets turned down,” Burton said.

When events are held, Burton hires a security guard to head off problems and keep the noise low. As for parking, he said that’s not an issue.

“I tell them if they’re going to have an event, they can’t park and block my neighbors’ yards,” he said. “I tell them they’ll have to rent the trolley and bring them in from the airport or the old Coast Guard Station.”

As for the Burtons using their property for commercial purposes, those types of activities also take place at other short-term rental properties without complaints. It’s just that the Burtons’ house hosts such events more frequently, he said.
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