It’s easy to see why someone would want to rent the nearly 4,000-square-foot chalet home on Northlake Road near Little River Park in North Hall for a weekend stay on Lake Lanier.
Pictures reveal a grand estate sleeping up to 14. Replete with 3 ½ baths, wine coolers, a bar, home theater, a stack-stone outdoor fireplace and kitchen, and a dock, the lakefront residence rents for $246 per night on average, with a minimum three-night stay, according to an online listing.
The online reviews attest to the secluded, beautiful environs that surround the home and the amenities offered.
“We had a great time at this house,” reads one review. “Everything was perfect. The house is beautifully appointed with all new linens, appliances, and kitchenware. We were pleasantly surprised with an extra fridge and kayaks for our use.”
Another review was titled, “Only wish we could have stayed longer.”
But there’s just one problem: The Northlake Road home is not permitted by Hall County to operate as a vacation rental.
“I can tell you that the property is part of an ongoing investigation by the Marshal’s Office and that no other comment can be made regarding its status until the investigation is complete,” said county spokeswoman Katie Crumley.
Complaints from area residents about how the upscale residence had become a “weekend party house,” with fireworks late at night, trash strewn in neighboring yards, people using boat docks, parking problems and even a man passed out in the middle of the street late at night, prompted the investigation.
And one review seems to attest to the party atmosphere, even for a family getaway.
“We had 13 family members stay and had extended family for a BBQ one day …” the review reads. “We ate and drank too much, and played cards every night. The home is large enough that no one got in each other’s way.”
Vacation rentals have been a recurring problem for the county over the last few years — for a few different reasons.
For example, Hall County has had difficulty in the past collecting the hotel/motel tax due from vacation rental properties on Lake Lanier.
But more than anything, vacation rentals pit property owners versus their neighbors.
Matthew Corentin’s home, a ranch-style tucked in a Lanier cove and located in a subdivision with R-1 residential zoning that contains 10 lots or fewer, had met the criteria to operate as a short-term vacation rental and received the support of the county planning department.
But many of his neighbors, describing vacation rentals as a cancer, protested that nightly and weekly guests would draw loud parties and uncontrolled traffic to the subdivision of aging retirees.
And they warned of the potential domino effect of turning the subdivision into a hub of transient guests if just one home were allowed to rent so frequently.
The Board of Commissioners agreed with these sentiments and prohibited Corentin from renting out his home for less than 30 days at a time.
Ray Killick, the owner of the home on Northlake Road, told The Times that he was unaware he was required to obtain permitting for his vacation rental.
Killick said he bought the home in July as an investment rental property, and owns another home on the lake that he rents, as well.
“My realtor told me that it was clear, that nothing was required by the HOA or anyone,” he said, adding that he would reach out to county officials and try to obtain the proper permitting.