Published in the July 27, 2016 edition


LYNNFIELD — The town’s dispute with 8 Needham Rd. homeowner Alexander Styller will be the subject of a Zoning Board of Appeals public hearing on Aug. 2 in the Lynnfield Middle School auditorium, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Styller is appealing Building Inspector Jack Roberto’s cease and desist order seeking to prevent Styller from renting out his property “for lodging purposes on a short-term rental basis” because doing so violates the town’s zoning bylaws that prohibit short-term rentals in the single-family zoning district. These types of rentals are classified as a hotel, lodging or rooming house use.

The cease and desist order was issued after 33-year-old Keivan Heath of Randolph was shot and killed at a house party at the home on Sunday, May 29.

Police found Heath, a father of two children, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds after arriving at the scene, according to published reports. Heath was pronounced dead at Union Hospital.

Last week, Board of Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford urged members of the public to attend next week’s meeting.

“Try and make it if you can,” said Crawford.

Selectman Dick Dalton echoed similar comments in a Facebook post.

“You need to attend this critically important meeting and urge your friends and neighbors to do so as well,” said Dalton. “The board will consider whether the property owner has the right to run an unlicensed boarding house (and) hotel in a residential neighborhood. The town has issued a cease and desist (order), which the property owner to this point has appealed and chosen to ignore. We all have to urge the ZBA to uphold the building inspector’s decision that the property owner is acting in total disregard of the town’s ordinances. We all have busy schedules with family and professional obligations, but please take the time to attend this meeting.”

Roberto stated in his cease and desist letter to Styller that a special permit only allows lodging house uses from the ZBA, and Styller has never received a special permit. The order also requires Styller to “remove all mention of the premises from the Airbnb website and any similar marketing platform.”

According to Styller’s appeal, he is going to request that the ZBA “vacate and overturn” the cease and desist order.

“In addition, Styller requests the Lynnfield Zoning Board of Appeals to make findings of fact to wit that the rental of Styller’s personal residence on a short-term basis does not constitute the operation of a hotel or lodging or rooming house as those terms are used in the zoning bylaws of the town of Lynnfield,” the appeal states.

Styller claimed in his appeal that he is no longer renting the home for parties and has updated his Airbnb account to reflect that change. Styller told the press in May that he rented out his 8 Needham Rd. home over Memorial Day weekend to a group of people for what he thought would be a small college reunion of about 20 people.

“At the time of the appeal, Styller only holds the property out for short-term vacation rentals,” reads the appeal. “The property is rented only for vacation type rentals ranging from two days (weekend rentals) to one month. Styller only rents the residence in its entirety — as a single unit to one renter.”

Styller claimed in the appeal he only rents out the home when he is on vacation and the rentals “are not regular.”

In the appeal, Styller argues the zoning bylaw’s Single Residence RC Zoning District “contains no express provision restricting the rental of a single-family residence as a whole — including vacation rentals.”

“Lynnfield does permit in the RC district, as an accessory use (allowed without a special permit), the regular renting of rooms or the furnishing of table board in a dwelling by prearrangement,” reads the appeal.

Styller based his appeal on several areas.

• Styller’s infrequent vacation rentals of his personal residence are expressly allowed by the Lynnfield zoning bylaws.

• Styller’s residence does not constitute a hotel as defined in the Lynnfield zoning bylaws or under Massachusetts’ law.

• Styller’s residence does not constitute a board or rooming house as defined in the Lynnfield zoning bylaws or under Massachusetts’ law.

• Styller’s residence does not constitute a lodging house as defined in the Lynnfield zoning bylaws or under Massachusetts’ law.