Homeowner Sued For Hosting Events

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Spring Lake, Mich. – On most days, the multi-million dollar mansion at the end of North Shore Estates Road sits quiet; high atop the sand dunes in Spring Lake.

But a quick online search reveals that the home is not just for sale, you can rent it for get-togethers like weddings or reunions.  According to the North Shore Estates Association rules, renting out a property for commercial use is prohibited, so the group filed a lawsuit against the homeowner, Tyler Smith.

The biggest complaint seems to be parking for the events, with cars clogging up the already narrow road.

“(The vehicles) fill up on both sides of the road,” says neighbor Chris Wells.  “You can hardly get a car down, much less an emergency vehicle.”

According to Smith, he hasn’t been officially served with the lawsuit, but he is aware of what’s brewing.  During a phone conversation, Smith said the home is rented out only a handful of times each summer, and once in a while during an off-season weekend.  He believes he’s being unfairly targeted, because other homeowners are allowed to rent their property as a vacation home or have large parties without problems.

Thomas Thornhill, the lawyer representing the neighborhood, is also a resident.  He says it’s OK to rent a home for single family living, but not for events.  Smith argues that some large houses sleep a dozen or more people, and are probably being rented to more than one family at a time.

In addition to parking issues, some neighbors say mansion guests often stray beyond the home’s 300 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline and residents end up sharing their private beach with strangers.

“(We) put the cars in the driveway, put all the flood lights on, make sure everything is locked,” Wells sighs.  “We’re not that kind of neighborhood, but we have to be now.”

Wells adds that safety of the party-goers and the residents is at the top of the priority list for the neighborhood.

Thornhill says the association has tried to reason with Smith several times.  He says last fall Smith was present at a townhall meeting about the parking issues; after that, No Parking signs were added to cul-du-sac in front of Smith’s home.

Smith acknowledged the meeting and says that’s when he started using shuttle services and limousines to keep the road clear during events.

Thornhill says there’s a hearing scheduled for later this month where a judge could put a stop to all future parties at the house until the lawsuit is settled.

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  • Mishap

    A mans home is his castle until he ticks off the neighbors. LOL We have almost the same problem. It say's no businesses are allowed in the subdivision of the Vista and that includes the renting of houses. But no one has the cash to sue the people who do it. So, we have to put up with renters who are paroled rapist and people who party and trespass on private land. All we can do is call the sheriffs office.

  • igglepiggle

    I have to deal with these private subdivisions once in a while in my line of work. Sure, I wish that I were as wealthy as some of the people that can afford to live there, but the rules are insane IMO. Simply put, I don't know why someone would want to move to a communist neighborhood. Some of the regulations and rules read just like those of a communist government. Doesn't the owner of this home in Spring Lake pay the same association dues as everyone else, and have a right to use the street and cul-de-sac? He does own the house and should be able to use it as he pleases right? (Minus criminal activity of course). These rich power hungry people just drive me nuts, I'm with the home owner on this one. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

  • Carolyn

    I recently attended a party in this stunning home and everyone was beyond courteous! Folks parked at the other end of the street in the park parking lot and were shuttled to the house. No neighbor was disturbed. My feeling is that as long as you are courteous and considerate of your neighbor, you should be allowed to do what you darn well please in and with your own home! Perhaps the snooty complainers should move to a gated community!!

  • Carolyn

    On the other hand, if this homeowner signed a contract that forbade renting his house out for weddings, parties, etc., then he IS in violation of that contract…Glad I got to see it anyway. It is a knockout!!