A Buckhead mansion at the heart of a city controversy about “party houses” was the scene of another arrest and more citations in August amid complaints about noise and commercial rentals. A local City Council member says he’s working on a “legal strategy” to shut down the mansion, while the man identified by police as operating it says at least some of the complaints are unfounded.
“Let’s just say we are actively working on efforts to make sure this illegal activity is shut down,” said City Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit about the 4499 Garmon Road mansion, which has been advertised for commercial rental on various websites, a practice that Matzkigkeit says violates the zoning code. “This is illegal. And this will stop.”
But Olutosin O. “Tosin” Oduwole, whom police have described as the mansion’s “owner,” said in a text message to the Reporter that during an alleged Aug. 15 noise incident, “There was no party here” and that he believes “police lie all the time” about such circumstances.
“Because there is a citation does not automatically mean it was a party,” Oduwole wrote. “If my car backfires and I get a citation, you will say it’s a party. If I have four friends over and one is playing his car radio loud, you will say it’s a party.”
Oduwole declined repeated interview requests and on Aug. 27 demanded that the Reporter cease writing anything about him.
Formerly owned by star musician Kenny Rogers, the mansion at 4499 Garmon Road drew the city’s attention last year for a string of massive parties, which ended late in the year with a $1,000 zoning violation fine imposed upon a woman who claimed to be the property’s new owner. However, Oduwole began advertising the mansion for event rentals again this year and parties resumed this summer. That drew the ire of officials, helping to spark Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Matzigkeit to call for legislation restricting “party houses.”
Matzigkeit and other officials have said that they believe large commercial parties are illegal in residential areas under zoning, which prohibits many commercial uses in areas zoned for single-family residential. But lack of legal definitions in the code clearly have been among the issues complicating official response, and one the new legislation seeks to fix.
According to the Mayor’s Office, the new legislation would create a zoning code definition of a “party house.” The definition reads: “A single-family, two-family or multi-family dwelling unit, including all accessory structures, which [is] used for the purpose of hosting a commercial event. For this definition, commercial event includes parties, ceremonies, receptions or similar large-scale gatherings where the attendees are charged entry to the event, or the structure and its curtilage otherwise functions as a commercial recreation facility.”
Party houses would be allowed in residential-zoned areas only with a special permit.
Matzigkeit, who represents Buckhead’s District 8, said the “party house” legislation is now working its way through the Neighborhood Planning Unit review process.
He declined to provide details of the “legal strategy” he is involved with regarding the Garmon Road mansion.
“I applaud the APD for their response and how seriously they are taking this issue,” Matzigkeit said.
During a July 6 party, police say, Oduwole was taken into custody and issued citations alleging a noise violation and obstruction, and a DJ was also cited for an alleged noise violation. On Aug. 15, police say, Oduwole was again cited for a noise violation. That’s the day he says there was no party.
On Aug. 17, police say they arrested a security guard at the mansion named Clifton Lacour, 31, and accused him of violating the noise ordinance and providing false information to the police.
According to the Municipal Court of Atlanta’s records, Oduwole is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 21 on citations alleging commercial noise violation, zoning ordinance violations and disorderly conduct in the form of physical obstruction. Oduwole has pleaded innocent, according to the court records.
“I probably will attend it and I suspect quite a few neighbors will as well,” Matzigkeit said of Oduwole’s trial.