Wednesday , June 7 2023

Opinion: “Staycation” turns into a noisy bar scene and a nightmare on most weekends for many Booby Hill residents.

Dear Editor,

Johnny’s Ground is a small enclave of six homes located at the end of a private road on Booby Hill. For years two to three of these homes have been rented to tourists as short-term tourist rentals and during that time the full-time residents never have had to encounter the problems they are facing today.

Every homeowner should be able to rent their home if they wish to rent. It only becomes a problem when the weekend pool parties become unruly and when the music and noises created by the multiple guests and their families and friends become unbearable. At that point, the Staycationer becomes a public nuisance to the rest of the community.

On many weekends over the last couple of months, guests of Compass Cottage have turned the area into a disco zone taking over the entire community with its noise and partying.
The entire road is used as a parking lot, blocking access to other residents as well as to emergency vehicles with the overload parking up in the field next to Massers Road. Johnny’s Ground is certainly no longer the peaceful enclave it used to be known as.

The Compass Cottage property owners are not island residents and may not be aware of the existing situation but the property manager should be aware of who he rents the property to of what is going on and is able to control the situation by putting in rent regulations to prevent the problem. The owners have not occupied the cottage more than twice in the past five years. It should also be known that every property owner in Johnny’s Ground is subject to deed restrictions as to the use of their property, which restrictions state that:

  • The property shall be used for residential single-family dwelling purposes exclusively. Single family means one or more persons living as a single housekeeping unit.
    (A tourist rental property turned “Staycation property rental” can no longer be viewed as a single-family dwelling. Once a property gets the reputation to be an easy party house which can be rented inexpensively and shared by thirty or forty people for pool parties on weekends, it becomes a commercial property for party venues.)
  • No offensive activity shall be carried on upon the property nor shall anything be done thereon tending to cause embarrassment, discomfort, annoyance or nuisance to the surrounding community. (Loud music and pool parties of 30 to 40 people are certainly viewed as offensive activities and lack of access to other properties due to illegally parked cars in the middle of the road. These actions clearly create discomfort as well as an annoyance and a hazard to the community.)
  • In case of non-compliance with one or more of the conditions mentioned in sub9 of this deed, the defaulting party shall pay a fine in the amount of One Thousand United States Dollars (US $1,000.00) for each day of non-compliance, which amount shall become due at instant notice without prejudice…
    Needless to say, the current week-end use of Compass Cottage is in direct conflict with the terms of its property deed.

The residents of Johnny’s Ground ask police supervision of the present situation and for the police to have both the owners and the property manager comply with the terms of their property deed or face fines and legal action.

In these difficult pandemic times with the island borders closed, it is understandable that people want to relax and need to remove stress and fear from their lives, but it should be done with respect for the rest of the community. These new problems have to be addressed by the police and by the Tourism Commissioner before the situation becomes more of a public nuisance and accidents occur.

In Johnny’s Ground, “Staycations” have created a public nuisance and a public hazard which the police and the local government have been made aware off but turned a blind eye to.
It isn’t right and the situation needs a proper governmental and police response.

Name withheld on request

Protecting Saba Bank’s Red Hind and Queen Triggerfish Populations
St. Maarten: 4 new confirmed COVID-19 cases