The big party at the large red brick house was obvious to anyone who lives in the neighborhood in Belle Mead. The roads were lined with dozens of cars. People living almost a mile away from the red brick house on Kildee Road could hear the beat of the music coming from the backyard. And then there was the trash — plastic cups, napkins and paper plates that littered the streets the next morning.
Parties have been going on at the house on the 100 block of Kildee Road for several weekends, but residents said last Sunday was the worst. Some residents did a little online sleuthing recently, and discovered that the party house is being rented out for $1,000 a day plus $200 in cleaning fees on Airbnb for reunions, pool parties and other gathering.
While an absentee owner is profiting off the parties, neighbors dread every weekend. Some residents have complained to local officials. The township’s solution is to ban all short-term rentals in the municipality. At the township committee meeting at 7 p.m. tonight, officials will consider adopting an ordinance that would ban short-term rentals for periods of less than 30 days.
Some residents welcome the ordinance as a way to have their peace and quiet restored. But others say the measure goes to far — punishing everyone for the transgressions of the few.
On a Facebook group for residents, some people have voiced support for the ordinance, while others said it goes too far. Mayor Ed Trzaska responded to the opposition’s comments on the group page, pointing out that the new ordinance would not be proactively enforced and is only being used to weed out renters who behave poorly.
“The bottom line, as with many other ordinances, we do not have the manpower or desire to proactively enforce it. We will do so when residents are impacted and complain (like if you rent your house for large weekend events/parties),” he wrote. “If you are using your home in a way that doesn’t impact your neighbors, I doubt this ordinance will change anything for you.”
One resident in the Facebook group questioned the tactic. “Your suggestion is that we should move forward with our plans to utilize short-term rentals of our home in the future even though you are passing an ordinance prohibiting short term rentals within the township? And that we should be fine doing so just as long as no one complains?” she wrote. “I oppose this ordinance due to the negative financial impact it will have on law abiding township residents. While I strongly agree that this situation on Kildee is a safety and quality of life issue and needs to be addressed quickly, I would hope the township would work to find a solution that does not negatively impact other township residents.”
Other residents said party goers at the house on Kildee already seem to be violating some ordinances that already exist and should be enforced. They have named the town’s noise ordinance, alcoholic beverage ordinances, possible fire code violations and other issues as existing potential violations. A business is being operated out of the home, they argue, given that the owners do not live there and the events, where people are sometimes charged an entrance fee. Some events attract up to 150 people.
Town officials first tried contacting the property owners, who live in Tennessee. A property manager who lives in Robbinsville runs four Airbnb listings in Montgomery, Robbinsville and Bordentown for large groups. The Airbnb listing for the Montgomery property:
“$1,000 day – Colonial on over 3 private acres. Entertaining is a dream with an over-sized deck, in ground pool, and 7 person hot tub. Property and house are spacious and accommodate good size parties (50 people). Because of proximity of neighbors, loud music is not allowed. Local laws prohibit loud parties and local police will shut down parties that are too loud – if a citation is issued by the township, your stay may be terminated and your security deposit will be forfeited.”
Last Sunday, Partybyjuelz was one of the hosts of a pop up pool party at the house. People buy tickets for the parties on Eventbrite, and the location is sent to them in an email before the party. The “One Big Pool Party” advertised musical entertainment, free parking on site, food, beverages, a cash bar, a food truck and a hookah lounge for adults 18 and over.
The house on Kildee has been on and off the market from 2012 to 2017. It was purchased for $1 million in 2005. The owners, who live in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, have owned a real estate firm in Tennessee since 2002, according to online records.
Adding another twist to the plot, on July 13, a notice of Lis Pendens was filed in Somerset County to recover the property, according to public records. A Lis Pendens is a type of written notice that is recorded in the clerk of court records to notify the public that a lawsuit has been filed concerning that particular property. The typical Lis Pendens filing is when a lender starts foreclosure against a homeowner.