ROCKLAND’S PORN PALACE: Sex parties disturb Orangetown neighborhood

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Linkedin Tumblr Digg Email

BY ROBERT KNIGHT

City Editor

This private residence on O'Grady Court in Orangeburg is being rented by swingers and pornographers/Photo Credit: homes.hudsonvalley.com
This private residence on O’Grady Court in Orangeburg is being rented by swingers and pornographers/Photo Credit: homes.hudsonvalley.com

What rights do residents have when a neighbor continuously rents his large home next door out to unsavory guests who party continuously have X-rated parties and even film porno videos?

This topic, recently laid upon Orangetown Building Inspector John Giardiello, was amusing to the packed audience at last week’s Town Board meeting. On Giardiello’s assignment list for that night: determining if residents can legally rent their homes for sex parties and the creation of porno movies.

Neighbors of such a house, located at 7 O’Grady Court, off Sickletown Road in Pearl River, besieged the council at the same meeting urging them to pass a law outlawing the rental of private homes, especially for sexual purposes, and more generally for any profit-making vacation purposes.

The neighbors were led by well-known Orangetown attorney Donald Brenner and his wife Betsy, and former town Councilman Dr. Edward Fisher and his wife Razelle, all of who are neighbors of the offending premises in an upscale development of million-dollar homes on large lots on the western bank of United water Company’s Lake Tappan Reservoir.

The neighbors became alarmed recently when large crowds of people began assembling at the large colonial-style mansion, staying for a few days and partying heavily in the normally quiet residential neighborhood.

The owner, identified only as “George,” has not occupied the house for some time, they say, and the normal home furnishings have been replaced primarily by beds everywhere.

Seeing people partying in the secluded yard, and hearing them party all night further aroused the neighbors suspicions.

Computer Check

The more technically savvy of the neighbors decided to conduct a computer search to see if anything popped up, and what did blew their minds.

“George” apparently earns a substantial income by renting the house out for parties, by the hour, day, weekend, week or even longer, at substantial rates, and advertising that the house can comfortably accommodate up to 32 people in a combination of several king size beds, 15 queen size beds and 10 inflatable twin air mattresses which can be set up in any of the 20 rooms.

They have found permanent listings for the house on both airbnb.com and homeaway.com, two commercial hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast web sites aimed at vacationers touring the United States or the world. They are also famous for allowing travelers to arrange for bedroom rentals in private homes.

This sites, complete with photos and testimonials, show there are six official bedrooms at this house, 4-1/2 baths and a variety of living and dining rooms, studies, lounges, video rooms, recreational rooms and similar spaces, all of which can be used for overnight guests.

Rental fee is $500 per night for the principal renter and one guest and $70 per night for each overnight “guest,” Day-trippers are charged $30 per day.

“George” describes himself as “An entrepreneur, looking to rent out my house which I built and designed myself, as I am rarely there to enjoy it.” He says he purchased the house in 2011 and it is “the nicest house in town.”

He describes the large, colonial-style brick home as having “exclusive modern design with tall ceilings for a private getaway, relaxation and entertainment. Large windows with gorgeous views. 15 minutes to NYC. Great for events. Fully furnished, indoor gym, laundry, dryer, couches, beds, LED lights, two fireplaces three large TV’s, Wifi, Bluetooth, audio streaming, cable TV, kitchen and bar, appliances, barbeque, three very large balconies, large back yard and utilities included. Great for relaxed events… and corporate retreats. On-site parking for about 15 cars.”

Comments posted by guests at the Homeaway site raved about their stays there, calling it “an incredible place and perfect for large groups. It has everything you could possibly need.

“The house fit our large group of 20 with room to spare,” and “The house was perfect for our large group.”

They were more specific on the airbnb site, with 19 reviews all praising the facility. A Yonkers man shot a music video in the “amazing space,” while a Manhattan family “had a few guests over for a party” and a New Jersey woman threw a “great Gatsby themed party” there.

A videographer from Victorville, Calif. rented the house for a “film shoot,” while several companies wrote to express their gratitude for having the house for private weekend “retreats” for their staffs.

None of the comments on either site mentioned the alleged sex parties or porn movie productions, which angry neighbors cited in their verbal criticisms to the Town Board Tuesday evening.

Brenner said “George” does not personally reside at the house, and apparently never has, using it strictly for commercial rental purposes, making it effectively a hotel or motel. Orangetown should have a law banning the rental of private homes for commercial hotel purposes, he asserted, similar to one New York City recently enacted, banning airbnb from operating within the five boroughs because they lack strict hotel compliance.

Giardiello again explained to the council that Orangetown has no laws governing the operation of hotels and motels, although it does prohibit the operation of private bed and breakfasts. He said it is not clear at this point whether “George” is operating a bed and breakfast or not.

The town has no expertise in regulating rental housing, Giardiello told the council, and would probably be better off leaving such regulation to Rockland County or New York State. He also again cited the possibility of opening an unwanted can of worms if they try to regulate the private rental of bedrooms in private homes. If a resident has a relative or guest stay overnight in a spare bedroom, it he violating an ordinance against bed and breakfasts?, he asked the board rhetorically.

Town Attorney John Edwards said Orangetown already has some laws on the books which might affect the situation at hand, including one regulating when, where and how movies and videos can be filmed, and what fee the production firm must pay Orangetown for that privilege.

The town also has some laws regarding rental of property and the use of housing for non-residential purposes, and a zoning code, which has its own restrictions on uses, permitted and outlawed in the R-40 zone in which the house in question lies.

Edwards said he and his staff would research the issue and give their own opinion back to the Town Board at an upcoming meeting. Council member’s indicated they were not inclined to do anything about 7 O’Grady Court until they get written opinions from both Giardiello and Edwards.

Representing the aggrieved neighbors, Brenner said he was not willing to give the town too much time before possibly taking legal action himself, either against the owner, or the town, or both, to have the on-going home rentals halted.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Linkedin Tumblr Digg Email