Breaking Courtesy of Inquirer : Lower Merion to Bryn Mawr Guest Suites: "No, no,no"

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carla's picture
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Wow. It turns out that Lower Merion did not know about the no tell motel known as "Bryn Mawr Guest Suites" . And apparently Lower Merion is sending a letter to the property owner saying no,no,no.

Bonnie Cook at The Inquirer is breaking news on this:

Posted on Thu, Aug. 4, 2011
Renting barred at site of alleged coach-student sex
By Bonnie L. Cook
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

The owner of the Bryn Mawr Guest Suites, where Lower Merion police say a Shipley School coach had sex with a 16-year-old student this spring, has been told to stop renting out rooms immediately.
In a letter dated today, Lower Merion Township told property owner Ann Marie Woods, 49, that she is in violation of the zoning code because her property, a duplex at 29-31 Morton Road, near the school, lacks the proper licensing for short-term rentals.

"The temporary lodging of persons, families and guests must cease immediately," ordered Michael Wylie, township zoning officer, in the letter.

Woods was not immediately available for comment today.

Wylie said Woods would require a variance from the township's zoning hearing board to operate a rooming house. She was licensed only as a two-family rental for both sides of the duplex, which is permitted in the R6A residential zoning district, he said.

To operate legally, Woods would have to obtain not only the variance, but a certificate of occupancy from the township, Wylie wrote.

He said Woods' failure to comply with the order could subject her to a fine of $500 a day. It could also cause her to incur the cost of the township's obtaining a court injunction against her, the letter said.

Under zoning law, Woods has 30 days to submit an appeal to the township. The cost to Woods for the appeal is $1,260, the letter stated.

Woods, the letter said, advertised for patrons on the Internet as "Bryn Mawr Guest Suites."

Mind you this "hotel" or "bed & breakfast" has been a listing on Bryn Mawr Patch. Am kind of surprised they didn't check this out before the Inquirer....score one for old school reporting.

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dmuth's picture
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I wonder if this is the sort of thing that the Institute for Justice would get on.  If the business was able to operate for this long without complaints from neighbors for all this time, it makes me wonder if the local ordinances are a bit heavy handed?

Of course, I'm just a layman here.  I'm sure there's a ton of legal issues and precdent that I know nothing about.

 

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carla's picture
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No, because the business simply flew below the radar.   No one I spoke to as far as business owners in Bryn Mawr even knew it existed and sorry if they have play by the rules so should this woman.  Where it is located would not have been noticed necesarilly  by neighbors because there are a lot of rentals over there.  No one is being heavy handed in my opinion- this person appears to have gotten caught with an illegal business which does a disservice to legitimate businesses.  They got caught because they got mentioned in a major news story.

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Bravo for the township doing this. I've spoken with and had emails with Michael Wylie in the past on other zoning issues, and he is top notch.

Now, perhaps the township can move just as quickly and close the house of prostitution that has been in sordid operation 8/10 of a mile from the township building and the police station for over a decade.

I made every commissioner and the LMPD aware of this brothel over 5 years ago with links to "massage" parlor websites where reviews were given by patrons of this brothel, inclusive of the sexual services received and the prices - which high school boys in LMT could afford.

Isn't it about time something be done about this "spa" that is named after a famous local basketball player?

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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Bryn Mawr Patch has now posted about "Bryn Mawr Guest Suites" and included a PDF of the letter sent to the place on Morton in Bryn Mawr.

Bryn Mawr Guest Suites Must Stop Renting Rooms, Township Says
A former Shipley School squash coach is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student at Bryn Mawr Guest Suites in April.
By Danielle Vickery

LMT(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

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As I suspected, this operator was flying under the Twp.'s radar. No more and good riddance. There is no place for a B & B in a neighborhood zoned residential. A B & B is a commercial enterprise and must open it's doors to the public.

Folks living in a residential neighborhood have the right to quiet enjoyment of their property. One of the characteristics of this quiet enjoyment is familiarity and comfort in the knowledge of who one's neighbors are and thus those entering the neighborhood are either known to the resident or are invited there by known residents and are thus of the same caliber.

A B & B by it's nature is open to all sorts of transients and though they may be ensconced in all the trappings of wealth, as we see in this extreme example, a B & B can draw some VERY undesirable characters into the neighborhood.

Proprietor Woods found herself a way to milk that property for multiple times the income that she could ever hope to realize by renting on a monthly basis.

Game over.

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Looks like the place has been open for more than one year. Were there any complaints from the neighbors about it?

 

If she goes for a variance, is anyone (here) opposed going to speak at the hearing?

 

What would be the basis of your opposition?

 

 

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I don’t see this as having any chance of being approved for a variance.

It would set precedent that any home in a residentially zoned area could become a B&B or a boarding house.

Not a chance.

I don’t see this woman spending the money and risking township legal fees. She should just go back to being a rental property like it was up until 2009.

The best people to speak up against such an attempted variance are those on her street in regards to direct impact of quality of living, housing values, etc., but any citizen of LMT could speak against such a proposed variance in regards to the precedent it would set for other residential neighborhoods.

Quite simply, such a variance is not a concern unless this owner was to get the majority of residents on the street to sign a petition in support of the variance.

If that were to happen, she could make a case, but I still don’t see it happening.

What's the argument: "Allow me to keep my boarding house open so more teachers can bring underage students there for sex"?

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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What would be the basis of your opposition?

Generally, it is a residential neighborhood and a B & B is a commercial enterprise.

Specifically, my objection would be that the constant introduction of strangers, transients if you will, interferes with my right to quiet enjoyment of my home and property.

There is also no hardship involved on the part of the owner. She could realize a reasonable rate of return on her investment by leasing the house in a normal manner that is compliant with the zoning as it is.

That doesn't seem to be sufficient for her however and instead she is extracting a huge profit by letting the rooms on a daily basis. Why should the neighbors have to endure the degradation of their neighborhood for her benefit? This is truly an extreme example of what such an enterprise exposes them to but it illustrates the fact that any sort of pervert such as this 'educator' could be a 'guest' at the B & B.

If the neighbors fail to object vociferously then they get what they deserve.

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I thought people wanted bed and breakfasts in Lower Merion.

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I have no objections to bed & breakfast establishments provided they are legal and there is the zoning - which there is not in Lower Merion (or Radnor either).  What this woman was doing was below the radar and that makes it harder for people who do want to do business legitimately. 

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Doug is right. The rest of you are morons.

Some scumbag uses your property for illicit purposes and you're guilty of something because someone claims that you're guilty of it?

Is she guilty until proven innocent or simply guilty regardless of the facts?

Advertising all over the internet is 'under the radar?'

Why not just get some ropes and learn to tie a noose?

 

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Thank you, Mr. blogger-for-10-minutes, you're right I must be a moron. I never thought about it that way before, but you're right: everything makes sense if I'm a moron. Laughing out loud

If you are somebody's sock-puppet, please just have the courage to state your opinions under your established identity.

Sock-puppetry on SAC is TOTALLY out of hand. I have no time for that at all.

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Why not just get some ropes and learn to tie a noose?

 

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Well, one of you accused this woman of running a house of prostitution and, in so doing, left yourself open to a libel suit. Probably not a rocket scientist there!

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dmuth's picture
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Well, one of you accused this woman of running a house of prostitution 

Not really, no.  The post you refer to was referring to a separate home, and the poster was merely veting about the township not closing that one down as well.

There is something to be said for reading through online forums for a bit before jumping into the discussing and calling everyone morons.


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The standard for libel is that that stands alone and standing alone, the implication is clear.

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On the other hand, if you're telling me that I should do some research and actually have some idea of what it is I'm spouting off about before I go accusing someone of something that might not be true...

 

...is that what you're saying?

'Cuz if it is, I apologize. It didn't occur to me that that's how this works...

..you know what I'm saying?

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I'm saying that it's generally a good idea to lurk on a site and read some of the other threads before participating in one.  It can help avoid confusion and individual contributors can do so more effectively.

And I mean for ANY site, not just this one.  That advice that goes back to the BBS systems of the 80s and 90s, actually.

 

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One of you called it a B&B. Read the zoning regs. It's not a B&B. Can you read?

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Only Doug considered that...maybe this isn't a 'rooming house' as defined in the regs. Maybe it's a legitimate business that merely ran into an evil person. Maybe it has all the permits, etc. that it needs. Maybe this knee-jerk reaction was completely off-base. Maybe it damaged the business without cause.

If those things are true, what do you think your stupid, libelous comments do when it goes to court?

Of course, you didn't think about that...because you're morons. The Bergemiester says there's a monster in town and you stupidly run to get the torches without giving it a thought.

If I were a 'sock puppet,' I'd tell you to keep it up. The jury will want to hear more of your stupid assumpitons before they decide the amount they award the owner of this business.

Morons!

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Five stars for you. You're awesome and you're super smart.

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wow sounds like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed.  youaremorons sounds like this could be hitting close to home for you.  the township letter clearly states that this house is not zoned for the use it is being advertised for. also it has not had a rental license since 2009.  Now the whole thing of the shipley student incident is what brought this out in the air, seperate issues altogether.  But because of a sick bastard the owner of this house is now in the public eye, so she has to deal with it, could be a very lovely place to stay only problem is it isnt zoned for it plain and simple.  curiously i wonder if any of the residents on that street knew that she was doing this or are all those houses rentals.

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hey outtathere

Folks living in a residential neighborhood have the right to quiet enjoyment of their property. One of the characteristics of this quiet enjoyment is familiarity and comfort in the knowledge of who one's neighbors are and thus those entering the neighborhood are either known to the resident or are invited there by known residents and are thus of the same caliber.

try using that arguement when your neighborhood gets flooded with "community residential programs"

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" the township letter clearly states" and of course the mere accusation makes it true because we live in a society where the government is never wrong, no one is allowed due process and internet mobs decide all questions. IF that means destroying an innocent person's livelihood, oh well, too damn bad.

"curiously i wonder if any of the residents on that street knew that she was doing this or are all those houses rentals." Yes. We do! And you should all be ashamed of yourselves for attacking this poor woman.

Do you not think she feels bad enough? 

What the $#*( is wrong with you people?

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I have very little respect/trust for government.

However, we have a document that outlines how this property is in violation of the zoning code per LMT.

Since that is only one side of the story, perhaps our new poster can explain how this "hotel", or whatever it is, is not in violation of the zoning code?

You would have more credibility as a new poster if rather than attacking long standing bloggers, you presented facts that back your argument.

Please explain how this property in not in violation of the zoning code? If you can due so, I will certainly back what what you have to say.

As for the house of prostitution, I referenced that as a separate and unrelated property that is not being used in a proper manner that comports with zoning guidelines.

That "business" is in Wynnewood, and if it makes you happy to clarify, it is unrelated to the Bryn Mawr property where it is alleged a teacher took a student for underage sex.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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ed
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this is not an accusation the township letter is saying.  read the township zoning laws for that area.  and i guess it is true that this is hitting close to home.  i havent attacked this woman personally but she is running an illegal boarding house and she got caught.  if you knew about it then you should be ashamed of your self.  shes probally a very good friend of yours.  now if someone else around you tried to run a business out of their home and was bringing strangers into your neighbor would they have to be your friend for you not to get upset.  i completely agree with politeia. come to the table with something better than your overly emotional moron tirade and tell us how this is a legit endeavour

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Other than not having a license, what did the owner of this property do wrong? It appears was renting out one or two units, at most. She advertised and it seems unlikely that she would do that if she thought she were acting illegally.

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I'm asking the following because I don't know. I'm not making any accusation:

If this property were properly registered as a boarding house, b&b, or whatever, might the governing regulation have said something about the boarding of a minor child without the consent of his/her parents?

Furthermore, if this house had been known to the township as a boarding house, might it have received a different sort of attention from routine police patrols, and so forth?

As for what the owner may have done 'wrong,' I have no idea. Did the owner fulfill a health and sanitation checklist for the rooms, even though they were never subject to any sort of hotel inspection from the Township or otherwise?

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Ya know Ed, this is America where we have a right to defend ourselves against accusations of wrongdoing. Your assertion that she "is running an illegal boarding house," as well as all the other truly moronic, she's a witch, burn her rhetoric is offensive. i don't know her that well. She seems like a nice lady.

You all seem like an angry mob.

I'm sorry politea, perhaps it escapes you that it is a logical impossiblity to prove a negative. All one can do (it is spelled 'do' and not 'due' by the way) is prove a positive assertion wrong. The letter in question claims that the property has been "converted to a rooming house." Has any evidence of that "conversion" been presented? A "rooming house" is defined as "a dwelling not lawfully used as an...apartment house. Has evidence of the unlawful use been presented? Has the person charged been given any, with this judge, jury and execution website, to defend herself against the allegations that haven't even been made?

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carla's picture
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Dear Youaremorons,

You wrote:

Has evidence of the unlawful use been presented?

One could argue that the fact that these properties are duplexes and not zoned for B&B use orshort term rental or  boardinghouse or rooming house use  is potetnially unlawful, right?  (note there is boarding/rooming house zoning - there used to be properties in Bryn Mawr close to this location that had that designation) 

Main Line Times > News

Bryn Mawr business ordered to stop short-term rentals

The business, which runs under the name Bryn Mawr Guest Suites, advertises short-term rentals at the property on Morton Road.

According a letter from Lower Merion Zoning Officer Michael Wylie to the property’s owner, Ann Marie Woods, she must stop using the property as a rooming house because she did not have proper zoning approval.....“The temporary lodging of persons, families and guests must cease immediately. Only with a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board would you be permitted to operate a rooming house,” the letter from the township reads in part.

On the Web site advertising the business that was still up and running as of Tuesday, Woods advertises a two-night minimum stay for $150 a night for two people with an extra charge of $30 for each additional person. On the same page listing the prices, there is also a description of the business telling potential customers that the idea behind the guest house is “to carry on the tradition of a cozy and comfortable Irish guest house.”

A call to Woods at the number listed on her Web site was not returned 

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Well, Carla, someone could aruge something except that you've all made up your minds to close this business and there's no point in arguing with people who have already made up their minds...you know...because der zoning fuhrer has made his determination. 

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Youaremorons, You just want to fight with people. Good luck with that. Mike Wylie is not the "Der Zoning Führer". As a matter of fact he is a decent stand up guy. No one is "closing" this business  - they are expressing opinions on the topic as are you-  the owner  did not have a bad idea, but went about it the wrong way and got herself ensnared in another issue because she rented to the wrong person and got caught by the township because of that -none of us caused this to happen, she did.

I like bed and breakfasts and wish Lower Merion had the zoning. However, they don't. And what happened here now lends itself to the arguments people have against having them in neighborhoods and I think that sucks.

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And my final words to you:

This little municipal Naxi decided to close this business, with or without cause. Funny how the big, big news out of this town is always about the government overstepping...or is it overgoosestepping...its authority. Can anybody say 'students' and 'laptops'?

Did he contact the property owner? Did he visit the property? Did he actually investigate his own charges? He sent a letter "You vill do vhat ve say'...to the newspaper. Why? Is it common for zoning officials to broadcast to the media? Why would he do that?

Simple, because he knows that there's a herd of goosestepping sheep (that would be you) who will simply accept this 'heavy hand of government' as your moderator called it, and make it impossible for this person to defend herself.

Everybody here, expect the moderator, is content to let the government say 'guilty' without bothering to ask, 'really? of what?'

Morons.

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You obviously don't read these blogs much.

Carla has worked with LMT to remove illegal college student housing all over the township, yet she still holds the township accountable in other areas.

An illegal student house was on my street with the accompanying loud parties, and Carla played an instrumental role in getting rid of it by working with the township, and I thank both.

I also seek to hold the township responsible in areas where it does drop the ball.

I'm still waiting for the legal explanation as to how this boarding house, or whatever it you prefer to call it, is legal under the township zoning code.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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Youaremorons,

I resist restating the obvious about your "handle" because I don't wish to be offensive. 

The Zoning Officer doesn't send these letters out like press releases.  The media and others can request copies of this kind of township document...which if you ask the newspaper they will tell you, or the Township PIO.  Did you ask Mike Wylie any questions directly?  Voice your concerns with him?  Do you understand the type of zoning the property owner has now ? This property owner has a website,etc up that advertises the use that they apparently don't have zoning for and whose fault is that ?   Santa Claus? The Great Pumpkin?

Are you the owner? Or a representative of the owner?  You seem to think attacking everyone up here will detract from the issue being discussed.  In fact, it draws more attention to the issue.

Thanks

 

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ed
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it is interesting and amusing that youaremorons has no clue of the accountability that carla and politeia hold the township officials to.  and when left with no legitimate stance refers to "naxi" references.  if this lady wants to make money off of a property she owns more power to her.  No one here said shes a witch burn her.  Carla's right you just want to pick a fight. you just really dont know how much some of the people on this site do for the citizens of lower merion and other townships.  these are the people holding local governments accountable for their actions.  instead of your moron stance how about you actually read and comprehend what these people are saying.  she wants to run a business in brynmawr thats great , but like all other businesses in bryn mawr and pretty much throughout the country there are rules and regulations for doing so. and if you dont abide by them sooner or later its gonna catch up to you. unfortunately for her it happened in a very public venue instead of just the township quietly handling it.  get the rental license, get the variance and the people here would most likely send a ton of business her way. 

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It is this stupid 'the government must be right' attitude that gave us a government that thought it was ok to spy on students. I could give a damn about this guest house. The actions of this little Nazi are no different than those of those other little Nazis. Did the laptop scandal teach you nothing? Are you really just sheep?

Carla - " the owner  did not have a bad idea, but went about it the wrongway"

Based on what? Anything other than the fact that this little municiapl Nazi says so?  It is your attitude, all too prevalent in this frightened, lily-white enclave that gave those other morons the idea that they could get away with spying on our children. The sheep will just fall into line as  they always do.

 

politea - "I'm still waiting for the legal explanation as to how this boarding house, or whatever it you prefer to call it, is legal under the township zoning code."

Your guilty until proven innocent attitude is simply unAmerican and disgusting. You deserve to live in a dictatorship. You deserve to live where the school system spies on your children. 

Carla - "The media and others can request copies of this kind of township document"

So it just popped into the mind of some reporter that this document existed? They looked into their crystal ball, saw it and requested it? Only a moron would believe that Wylie didn't plant it.

Ed - " there are rules and regulations for doing so"

And nothing other than the decision of this little municipal Nazi to indicate that any rules were broken. Sames stupid acceptance on governemtn authority with no question.

 

Honestly, you people would let them tap your phones, stop you on the street and ask for your 'papers,' really do anything he want...all in the name of the...Save our lily white enclave coalition.

 


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dmuth's picture
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The actions of this little Nazi are no different than those of those other little Nazis. 

Congratulations!  You just invoked Godwin's Law.

This thread is now closed.


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