Summer is made for fun, but residents on one quiet street say they’ve been forced to listen to loud music, wedding parties, and even fireworks, weekend after weekend.
That’s because their neighbors suddenly converted their home into an Airbnb rental.
It’s an issue that’s popping up more often throughout the state, and legally, nothing can be done about it.
That’s because right now these home rental websites are relatively new, and towns like Chester don’t have rules in place specifically for them and that’s something residents want to change.
For the last 21 years, Karli Spinella has lived on East Liberty Street in Chester, and for the last 16 years, she’s gotten along very well with her neighbors who own a $1.2 million home.
That changed in May when she said the owners moved out and started to rent the property.
The new sets of strangers started checking in nearly every weekend.
“It’s turned into a commercial venue as far as I can tell,” Spinella said.
At the home, there’s a basketball court, pool, and spacious yard that makes the 12-room home, dubbed “Liberty Manor,” go for about $1,000 a night on Airbnb.
“I don’t want to live next to a hotel or transient neighborhood,” Spinella said.
Under the reviews on the website, one person wrote “This house was very well suited for a weekend getaway for a large group in a small quiet town.”
Spinella said that’s the problem; large groups are constantly invading.
A town ordinance limits 12 guests to a home and the Airbnb listing complies, but neighbors say that’s rarely the reality because there’s no one there to enforce it.
The property manager seems to be based in Florida.
“There’s no property manager on site, so you can say 12, but there’s regularly more cars than that over there,” Spinella said, adding that she has proof, showing lines of cars in the driveway one weekend where the yard looked like a makeshift parking lot.
She said recently there was a wedding and there were port-o-potties, tents, and fireworks.
The Channel 3 I-Team learned that the $1.2 million home belongs to Bob Landino.
The name and face may be familiar because he is the CEO of Centerplan Construction, infamously known for getting fired from the Yard Goats stadium project by the city of Hartford after missing several deadlines.
Both sides have ongoing lawsuits against each other.
As for his home, Landino has not been charged with any violation, but neighbors want him to be held accountable.
The I-Team took their concerns to First Selectwoman Lauren Gister.
She said short-term rentals don’t fit neatly into the definition of “bed and breakfasts” or “hotels” that are listed in the town’s zoning regulations.
She says “we don’t want to discourage short-term rentals in general, because they provide a service that does not currently exist in Chester, as well as acting as an economic driver for residents and merchants alike. We seem to need to do something, however, to regulate and balance the needs and rights of the rental owner and neighbors and other residents that are being disturbed.”
Spinella, says she’s not sure how much longer she can endure the noise, the traffic, and the parties.
“I don’t want to live through another spring and summer and fall, like what we did, so I want to see movement and I think they’re doing their due diligence,” Spinella said.
Spinella did contact police when the fireworks were let off, and filed a formal complaint with the town.
The owner’s representative says there have only been two weddings in the last year and says the fireworks lasted just two and half minutes.
He contends the home adds value to the neighborhood, noting that not only is the home in full compliance with zoning regulations, management is very involved with the property and it has the highest assessment of any home in the neighborhood.
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