Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro plans to ask the City Council to implement a new ordinance that would slap people with fines if they throw raucous parties in response to complaints from neighbors about a local house known as “party central.”
“It gives us some local control to have some sort of repercussion for a location like at this house,” Castro said in an interview Tuesday, referring to the approximately 4,000-square-foot property in the 1300 block of Norton Avenue that has had seven police visits since October because of parties.
The house used to be advertised as “party central” on Airbnb.com, a website for vacation rentals. At the beginning of this month, however, the listing was removed following numerous complaints from neighbors, meetings between the property owner and city officials and an inquiry by the Glendale News-Press.
Yet another party still took place on Friday night into Saturday morning, angering neighbors who were promised that the loud noise would stop.
“They said they would stop and they didn’t,” said Sam Manoukian, a Glendale Civil Service Commissioner and a neighbor of the house, describing the situation as “bizarre.”
People were leaving the party just after midnight on Saturday when police arrived, said city spokesman Tom Lorenz.
It was unclear how many people attended the event because the party was mostly over when police arrived, but neighbor Brian Ellis said he heard several drunk women fighting outside the house and car alarms going off around 1 a.m.
Other parties during the summer and fall months led to streets clogged with cars, littered beer bottles and loud noises, neighbors had said. At one party, a Glendale Police helicopter shined a spotlight on the house as several officers shut down the event.
While the house, which features a pool and guesthouse, is no longer being advertised for 200-person parties on Airbnb.com, it is still being rented out for short-term rentals costing about $280 per day on that website.
Mikey Dardashti, owner of the property management firm renting out the house, said he planned to keep renters’ deposits if they threw parties at the house, but in this case, the customer was not charged a deposit.
Dardashti added that other than taking down the listing advertising the house for large events, there wasn’t much he could do to prevent his customers from throwing parties.
“Even if I tell them not to have parties, at the end of the day, I can’t go in there and control them,” he said. “It’s not our responsibility to shut down the party. It’s the responsibility of the police department.”
In asking the City Council to consider a party ordinance, Castro said he helped implement a similar measure in Glendora, where he was police chief before coming to Glendale last month. He said the local council could consider its own ordinance as early as next month.
Partiers would get a warning after the first police visit, according to the measure Castro is proposing. If the same person has a party at the same property again, the owners could be fined $150. The fine could increase to $300 for the next visit and $450 for yet another visit.
“It’s a tool that we would use with discretion,” Castro said. “It’s not a tool we would use to hammer a family having a birthday party for their children.”
The cities of San Clemente and Newport Beach also have ordinances that charge people fines who throw loud parties.
In addition to the party ordinance, the owners of “party central” may have a lawsuit on their hands.
Manoukian, the upset neighbor and Civil Service Commissioner, said he is initiating a lawsuit against the property owner and Dardashti. He plans to ask a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to force both sides to cover the costs that the Glendale Police Department incurred shutting down parties.
“The only way I’m going to get his attention is to hit him where it hurts, the pocketbook,” the real estate agent said, referring to Dardashti.
Ellis called on the city to create a new ordinance to block residential homes from being rented by the day.
“The day rentals are what’s becoming the problem,” he said, noting that he doesn’t think that parties will be over at the house in northwest Glendale until day rentals in residential zones are banned.
The Glenwood neighborhood isn’t the first to find itself at odds with short-term rental sites such as Airbnb.com, which allows property owners to rent out their homes online. In Silver Lake, the neighborhood council was up in arms this summer over Airbnb.com rentals, which council members said diminished their neighborhood’s community feel.