Lynnfield’s short-term rental denial appealed

June 24, 2016

ITEM FILE PHOTO

BY ADAM SWIFT

LYNNFIELD — The owner of a mansion that was the site of a fatal shooting appealed the town’s decision to deny short-term rentals at the house.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to hear the case in August.

Following the death of 33-year-old Keivan Heath of Randolph at a house party on May 29, the building inspector filed a cease and desist order against Alex Styller, owner of 8 Needham Road. Styller offered the $3.3-million house for lease for $1,400 per night on California-based Airbnb Inc. and other online rental sites. The Airbnb listing is still active.

Short-term rentals are not allowed under Lynnfield’s zoning bylaws, according to Philip Crawford, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

But in the appeal received by the town on Thursday, Styller’s attorney said the rental of a home on a short-term basis does not constitute the operation of a hotel or lodging house as those terms are used in the zoning bylaws.

The appeal also revealed some additional details about the night that Heath was killed. The shooting is still under investigation by the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

“Styller rented the residence for a small college reunion,” said attorney Lester E. Riordan III of Concord. “The tenant violated Styller’s lease conditions by inviting guests over and above Styller’s maximum limit of 15 guests. As a result, Styller has discontinued leasing his premises for the purpose of parties and events and has adjusted his Airbnb accordingly.”

The house is now only leased for short-term vacation rentals, according to Riordan.

But Selectman Richard Dalton said he’s talked to a number of neighbors who are upset by the shooting and nervous that the house will be rented out again.

“There is a history of parties, and large ones,” said Dalton. “The neighbors thought it was friends and families and did not think that he was renting the house out. We are going to do everything we can to make sure this does not happen again.”