Party house halted

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
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A beachfront holiday home that had some neighbours thinking about moving house to flee the noise from revellers, can no longer be used as an Airbnb.

The use of the house on Rockingham Beach Road as short-stay accommodation was approved by council in November 2018 for 12 months with the applicant required to lodge a fresh application if they wanted to continue operating after November 5, 2019.

In April 2020 — about five months after the approval term had expired — the City of Rockingham received a complaint from neighbours that the property was still being used as a party house.

A City investigation found the applicant, Jane Chambers, had not reapplied for approval and was operating unauthorised.

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Ms Chambers then submitted an application on April 30 seeking renewed approval of the holiday house.

It was advertised for public comment in June, with 12 submissions objecting to the application and two in support. Several raised concerns about the the use of the property as a private “events/party house”.

Other complained about disruptive and antisocial guest behaviour, inadequate supervision and non-compliance with the previous development approval.

The proposal came before council last week, with several neighbours voicing their concerns and objections during public question time. Councillors unanimously refused the application.

Neighbour Daniel Barlow said the house was frequently rented and often occupied by large groups partying and making excessive noise. Mr Barlow said the use of the property as an Airbnb was “seriously affecting” both his wife’s and their three-month-old baby’s quality of life.

Mark DeFriest, who lives next door to the Airbnb, said “almost every time” the house was rented out, guests threw loud parties that lasted “often until 2am and 3am”.

“We’ve been forced on several occasions to go next door after midnight to request the parties stop . . . not a pleasant experience as the party-goers have usually been drinking,” he said. Mr DeFriest said he had contacted Ms Chambers about party noise several times, only to be “brushed off”.

Ramiro Esteves said he often felt like he was living in a hostel as a backpacker and that the noise was so loud it sounded as if guests were “practically in our room”.

“We’re at the point where we are considering moving out of our home for some peace and quiet,” he said.

Rockingham police officer- in-charge Neville Beard told the Telegraph police had gone to the property six times in the past three months responding to noise complaints.

In her response to complaints, Ms Chambers said a new house management plan was being created following feedback from residents, which would include lowering the number of guests to 11, soundproofing the games room/shed and updating house rules to remind guests to be respectful of surrounding neighbours.

City officers noted the applicant had a “history of non-compliance”.

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