Neighbors near Bradenton Airbnb east irritated by noise it creates | Eastern County

Tensions between an Airbnb and its neighbors on Mill Creek Road in East County have drawn attention to whether the short-term rental industry may need more local government regulation.

When Mark Egbers moved into his Mill Creek Road home about a year and a half ago, he thought he had found a tranquil river environment. However, Egbers said he quickly learned that a nearby short-term rental house was creating more noise than he wanted to hear.

“When I bought my house, I found that when the party started there was a lot of noise, usually on Saturdays, and sometimes other days too,” Egbers said. “The majority of issues I’ve had are ones that are events – weddings and stuff like that.”

More regulations?

The problem is not limited to East County. The City of Bradenton passed an ordinance in February aimed at protecting short-term rental properties from annoying neighbors. In addition to having to register a short-term rental with the city, this limits a maximum of 12 guests visiting a short-term rental at a time. Manatee County has no such regulations.

Listings for short term rentals on Mill Creek Road indicate that the property has parking for 50 cars.

The cabanas and tiki decks in the yard of the short-term rental house on Mill Creek Road are often filled with fun-loving guests.

Several neighbors are concerned about large groups.

“The back of their property is very close to the back of our property because we are on a lagoon,” said fellow neighbor Monica Joiner. “That’s the other problem; sound propagates above water. There is a small bend in the lagoon right there. Sometimes it’s louder than others. At their last wedding, they installed the sound system just above the water.

“Our house has extra insulation,” said another neighbor, Dennis Puckett. “It has double-glazed vinyl windows that we installed and is pretty soundproof.”

However, Puckett said that at one point recently the sound of the short-term rental was so loud that “I couldn’t even hear my television going up to full volume.”

“If I walk out the front door, it’s just explosive,” Puckett said.

The rental home is advertised on Airbnb, Facebook and VRBO as “Shangri-la Vacation Rental Home”. The description reads: “This beautiful home has hosted countless family reunions, exclusive retreats, religious celebrations, birthdays, sports teams, golfers, honeymooners and even celebrities.”

Mitigation attempts

Don Power, the owner of the short-term rental property, said he went to great lengths to be a good neighbor. Power said the property had been in his family for years and after failing to sell it five years ago he turned to the short-term rental offer in 2018.

Power said most of his guests are quiet and respectful, and only a few have caused noise issues. He said refusing gatherings at home would be tantamount to banning relatives from coming for Thanksgiving. “Owners have rights,” he said.

“We don’t do weddings,” he said, contradicting his neighbors’ claims. “I rent my house. And then people do what they do. I am not a commercial enterprise. I follow Airbnb and VRBO. Now the noise level – I wouldn’t like people making a lot of noise at night and would also be upset. I don’t really know what to do.

He said his rental agreements subject customers to a fine if they make noise after 10 p.m. or violate county noise limits (60 dBA or 65 dBC between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday , or between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and the day before a federally recognized holiday). He said the warning is listed on his website.

“Now, as an owner, I couldn’t say any music,” he said. “But that’s neither fair nor reasonable. You are on vacation, you want to listen to music, especially if you are at the swimming pool or in your garden.

He said he purchased decibel meters to track noise on the property. He said those who rent the property will face a $1,000 fine if they violate noise ordinances and he wants to add it to his contracts for the property.

He said he was seeking the advice of a lawyer before implementing the measure.

Power also said he’s been promoting the use of silent, headphone-based disco systems since late 2019. He erected a bamboo hedge along the fence to block noise, and he said the bamboo will come of age. within six months. While some neighbors had asked for a wall, he said a wall would detract from the aesthetic value of the house. Power said he tries to secure the trash cans, but raccoons sometimes scatter the trash.

He hired an off-duty private policeman to watch large gatherings and order guests to park in the right place. Neighbors said any issues they had with parking issues have been resolved, although noise issues remain.

Mark Gabrick lived on Mill Creek Road until 18 months ago.

“The noise from this property, when they had events, was annoying and disruptive,” he said. “Music permeated the walls of my house.”

Mike Hofer, another Mill Creek Road resident, said it shouldn’t be okay to do a business out of a house in a residential area that irritates neighbors.

No quote

Bill Logan, information dissemination officer for Manatee County, said county code enforcement has previously issued trespass notices on the property, but never written a citation.

According to Randy Warren, public information officer with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, police have made seven visits to the property since August 2021. On the last trip on Feb. 7, deputies measured the sound, which was in the authorized limits.

Warren said the police department’s policy is to achieve compliance through education. “If they’re in direct violation and they know better and it keeps happening, it’s really up to MPs whether or not to write citations. A lot of the blame is on the owner, for ensure that people staying there follow county ordinances.

All the neighbors are not disturbed

Some neighbors said they don’t mind short-term rentals.

“I like to sit there watching the weddings,” Marcia Frost said. “As long as they don’t play too late, it’s nice to have a little music and a little life in the neighborhood. The house brings a lot of happiness to people, because they organize family reunions, they organize weddings and they can enjoy it most often outside. That’s a lot of good. But I also understand the side of the neighbors. It’s a nice area, very quiet. But it only occasionally gets out of hand or noisy.

Resident Lawrence Barnett said he certainly noticed fewer noisy events.

Power received a Manatee County code enforcement citation for “hosting weddings,” but the case was dismissed by 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Douglas K. Henderson in 2020 due to the “lack of specificity of the marriage code.

Lisa Barrett, manager of Manatee County’s Comprehensive Planning Section in Building and Development Services, said efforts are underway to amend the code, adding “weddings” and “banquets” to the definition of “medium-intensity recreational activity”.

The Manatee County Code of Ordinances states, regarding moderate intensity recreational activities in a residential dwelling, “No building or structure used for or in connection with such use shall be located within fifty (50) feet of any adjacent property that is in a residential neighborhood. Additional setback may be required, depending on the intensity of the proposed use, as determined by the Department Manager.”

Barrett was asked if there was concern the amendment could simply allow large gatherings under names other than “wedding” or “banquet”. She said, “Yes, and that’s one of the reasons we constantly review our land use planning code. We have some room for interpretation. We try to capture everything we can in the definitions. »

These definitions will be discussed at the Commission meeting on 16 June.

Barrett also said the county does not regulate short-term rental homes. All county ordinances treat these homes based on building structure, not usage.

Infringement of rights

Manatee County Information Outreach Officer Bill Logan said banning gatherings of a certain number outright would be “a violation of someone’s right to run a business or earn a living. “.

Bradenton City Councilor Marianne Barnebey said the rationale for their regulation was that rental homes were “an end circumventing zoning rules.”

In September 2019, Anna Maria Island passed a noise ordinance for short-term rentals that subjects noise violators to a $35 fine without verbal warning, followed by increased fines for subsequent violations. A business with three citations in a 12 month period can be declared a public nuisance and potentially lose its right to continue operating.

On Monday, Airbnb announced that its owner hosts in Florida earned $265 million in 2021.

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