Noise, threats, complaints erupt in Holmes Beach

A Holmes Beach resident wants to quiet his neighbors and be heard on the matter.

In an Aug. 9 letter, Richard Motzer asks the mayor and commissioners several questions:

“Is it quiet around your house? Are you able to go out and sit on your deck, patio or balcony and enjoy a cup of coffee, beverage, read a book or just relax?”

After more similarly themed queries, Motzer states: “If you can answer yes to any of the above, I would like to know why my wife and I cannot do the same in Holmes Beach.”

Motzer wrote that despite the commissioners’ March 30 direction to the Holmes Beach chief of police that a letter be drafted to tenants, rental units and the rental management company, he’s received no news on the letter and no relief.

“June and July have been two of the worst months on record for us,” he stated.

The latest political maelstrom comes after a July 2 incident in which the Holmes Beach Police Department identified Motzer as a suspect in an assault case.

According to the HBPD, Motzer, a resident in the 300 block of 56th Street, called the HBPD at 2:14 p.m. about kids playing in a nearby pool and a possible noise violation.

On a recorded line, Motzer threatened to sue the city, the police chief and officers, the reports state.

Motzer complained about the police department’s lack of response to his calls.

“The noise is over the top, tell them to do something,” Motzer allegedly told the dispatcher.

A report by Sgt. Mike Pilato states Motzer said, “You are going to need to bring over body bags because I am fed up with it.”

Pilato reported Motzer “made a viable threat to cause death to the families and the children.”

When officers responded, they found the renters standing in their driveway, heading toward the beach.

Officer Jason Higgins reported no disruptive noises and Pilato’s report stated he heard no screaming, yelling or noise violation.

The renters told police their neighbor, apparently referring to Motzer, “hid behind the screened upper porch and began yelling on a bull horn at the children playing in the pool” and “the kids were terrified” because he “began cursing at the kids,” according to Pilato’s report.

“The family insisted they were being harassed by the neighbor,” according to Higgins’ report.

Pilato asked the renters to fill out affidavits.

Motzer, whose year-round residence is adjacent to the vacation home, first complained to the city about the home when it was under construction in 2014-15.

He’s been active at city hall, attending meetings and offering comment on rental issues, questioning the multiplex development, according to The Islander archives.

While an HBPD report labels Motzer a suspect and the alleged offense as an assault, it contains no indication charges were or would be filed.

HBPD Chief Bill Tokajer said Aug. 10 the July 2 reports were forwarded to the state attorney to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

In Motzer’s most recent letter, he criticizes the HBPD, the chief and code enforcement for failing to enforce the city’s ordinance and for not using a decibel reader.

Tokajer responded, “We respond to every noise complaint and review it on a case by case basis in accordance with guidance from the mayor and commissioners.”

The chief also said he’s put together a handout which, after it is approved by the mayor, will be handed out by his officers.

2 thoughts on “Noise, threats, complaints erupt in Holmes Beach

  1. mermaid

    Paula, I don’t know why you are writing a comment here, because you don’t know our island. Visitors are coming here and rent houses since the 1920’s. Because of them we have a great variety of shops and restaurants and many of us have jobs somehow connected to the rental industry. We have a noise ordinance and very few noise complaints. I live between two rentals for years and I can only remember one situation where I felt disturbed by a party. Some people are just rude, regardless of whether they are renters or your full time neighbors.
    Your advice to partner with the hotel industry is absolutely horrible. We are very proud to live on this unique island where we have mostly single family homes that we share with guests. There are no bigger hotels in the neighborhood and we love it this way.

    Reply
  2. Paula

    We are affected by these short-term rentals as well (I live in Palm Coast). We held a public protest against our representative Travis Hutson. This was very effective. Do the same – call the newspapers and TV stations – they came to cover our event. Hutson got the message that his constituents DO NOT WANT SHORT TERM RENTALS IN COMMUNITIES WITH SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES.
    Write letters to the editors, get petitions, contact all the representatives, follow the legislation and write, write, write.. Partner with the hotel industry and your county. Keep in mind all the jobs lost from the hotel industry, and that many renters buy from grocery stores (no sales tax), so the community suffers. The short-term renters drive out full-time residents, affecting volunteering, the health industry, and those who patronize the stores and restaurants year round.

    Invite your representatives to a meeting and fill the hall with voters to let them know how you feel (we did this, too).
    It’s lot of work, but the rental industry has deep pockets.

    Reply

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