Sandy Springs tweaks law to hold party house owners accountable for raucous events

Sandy Springs’ law prohibiting “party houses” will now allow the city to cite owners who rent out their homes for commercial gatherings.

During a City Council meeting Tuesday, officials said party houses in Sandy Springs that draws hundreds of paying party-goers have become increasingly common on the south side of the city.

Under the amended law, homeowners or party hosts found guilty of holding large, unsanctioned parties can face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. The ordinance is intended to send a message to homeowners renting out their property, city attorney Dan Lee said. He added that recently a homeowner had purchased three homes at one time for $7 million to rent for party events.

“They shouldn’t be able to do that and not pay a price,” Lee said during the meeting.

Sandy Springs police already had been citing party hosts when called to neighborhoods where the large parties were taking place. Anyone found guilty of “keeping a disorderly house” including allowing the sale of alcohol, drug possession, prostitution, gambling or creating a public nuisance, could face punishment under the amended law.

In July, police arrested Timothy and Samantha Osby on several charges including operating an event without a special permit at Timothy Osby’s 711 Heards Ferry Road home.

Timothy Osby, 54, told police the party of nearly 600 people was for his daughter’s band, according to a Sandy Springs police statement. But police found the concert was advertised on social media and planned by the couple, the statement said.

Timothy Osby’s arrest charges included allowing under-age drinking. An 18-year-old was also arrested for intoxication after wandering in the road and false representation to police, officials said.

Sandy Springs City Council began to address the city’s party house problems in June when the officials approved a change to the zoning code requiring a temporary use permit for any party that requires guests to pay.

Owners of a home, located at 5785 Northside Drive in the Cameron Glen neighborhood, was issued fines and citations for throwing paid parties and generating noise that disturbs residents.

Sandy Springs sought an emergency temporary restraining order through Fulton County Superior Court to halt upcoming parties planned at the house.

Court documents filed by the city said the owners offered the home — billed as “The Manor ATL” — for rent and charged to provide additional services, including bartending and use of a “pole dance studio.”

In prohibiting party houses, Lee said first responders and code enforcement have had to discern the illegal events from large private gatherings for birthdays or other celebrations.

Council members Tuesday said they hope the amended ordinance would make illegal party houses less of an issue.

“Sandy Springs is not a party neighborhood,” Councilman Tibby DeJulio said. “It’s a family neighborhood and I think this will go a long way to correcting this problem.”