Santa Monica council votes to curb problem party house
The Santa Monica City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday meant to halt parties at a mutimillion-dollar home and end a saga that has dragged on since September.
The former Kathryn Grayson estate, located on the city’s affluent La Mesa Drive, had been marketed for weeks by House of Rock LLC, which used the property, in part, to host large events.
Responding to neighbors who complained about the parties, the City Council first considered an emergency ordinance to halt the festivities. It failed to pass at the October meeting, so on Tuesday council members took up the matter again. This time the council passed a regular ordinance that will prohibit residential property owners from having more than 150 people in attendance at one time for commercial purposes.
The homeowner, Elaine Culotti, previously said that she had purchased the estate with the intention of redesigning it and reselling it at a higher price.
Benjamin M. Reznik, an attorney for Culotti, said the new ordinance means “absolutely nothing.”
“It’s just an ordinance that’s never going to be enforced,” he said.
The house, which is expected to sell for more than $20 million, has hosted multiple events, some with more than 300 people. Many of the rooms are hard-wired with microphone panels, fiber-optic cables and other technology.
A professional recording studio is also built into the home, with ceilings soundproofed in cotton and silk. High-end designers and furniture purveyors also donated their services for the parties in return for exposure and sales opportunities, according to a city staff report.
After the first party, residents came out in droves to City Council meetings to complain about such things as noise, lights, traffic congestion and safety -- as well as naked partygoers sleeping off a long night in their cars.
Public comment sessions about the house lasted almost two hours at the October meeting, but on Tuesday, the only speaker was Reznik.
The ordinance was discussed and passed in less than 10 minutes. It will take effect in 30 days -- about a week after Culotti is expected to hold the last of her eight events. She plans to sell the house as early as December, Reznik said.
“We’re done,” he added. “We’re out of here.”
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-- Matt Stevens
Photo: A mansion in Santa Monica is drawing complaints from neighbors who say parties there clog the street. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times