Neighbors’ complaints prod Sandy Springs to revoke short-term rental license

Sandy Springs City Council revoked the business license from a High Point Lane property owner due to numerous complaints from nearby homeowners and citations issued against the owner.

City Attorney Dan Lee brought the request to revoke the business occupational license at 550 High Point Lane to the council at its Sept. 21 meeting.

The property at 550 High Point Lane, outlined in red above, is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. (Fulton County Board of Assessors)

“The city has received 21 complaints. Four different citations have been issued, and fines have been paid once. There are two active cases pending right now before city court,” he said.

Violations range from excessive use of the street for parking, as well as noise and commercial activity in the home.

Councilmember Tibby DeJulio said he received numerous complaints about this residence. He also witnessed it himself several weeks ago.

“I got down there and they’re shooting a film. And I said to them ‘Do you have a license to shoot a film? Do you have a permit to shoot a film?’ And of course, they didn’t really care about that,” he said.

Ten vehicles left before police arrived, but many more were still there.

“They have been disturbing the neighbors. They have been making noise. They’ve been up all night. They’ve been partying all night,” DeJulio said.

The neighbors shouldn’t have to put up with it, he said, adding the city needs to send a strong message out and shut it down.

With its vote, council revoked the business license of the home, which was operated as a short-term rental property by Mountain Sights Rental LLC.

The property was cited on Aug. 31, 2020 for operating a short-term rental without a license, Lee said. The property owner was given a chance to obtain the necessary licenses at the time.

“As you know, it’s very hard and sometimes unwarranted to limit the person’s use of their property. And it’s a very delicate balance that we tried to carry out here in Sandy Springs by policing someone else’s use of their property,” he said.

Code enforcement staff do not write a citation unless a complaint has been made.

“So they don’t go looking for trouble. Trouble calls them, and they have to go and respond to it,” Lee said.

He said the property at 550 High Point Lane has crossed the line with the sheer numbers of complaints. Neighbors have been tolerant and patient waiting for the courts to handle it, he said. The property owner continues to violate city ordinances and paying a $1,000 fine hasn’t slowed it down.

Councilmember Andy Bauman said this was “exhibit A” for the problems of party houses. 

Lee said Sandy Springs Police will monitor the Internet to see if the house is advertised for commercial activity. If it does, action will be taken, Lee said.

They’ve talked to the solicitor about what is done with the prosecution of these cases. First a warning is given, which this property owner received. Then a small fine is imposed. If that doesn’t work, a larger fine is issued. In blatant cases, the defendant may go to jail, he said.

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