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Second beachside group home now under scrutiny

STORY BY EILEEN KELLEY, (Week of April 4, 2013)
Photo: Irene "Renee" Snyder's home on Banyan Road.

Trouble appears to be following a beachside  landlord to a second house she rents to four individual tenants as opposed to a traditional family. Irene “Renee” Snyder first came under fire from Banyan Road neighbors of a home she owns in the island's Central Beach area.

Neighbors claim she is running a boarding house and the constant flow of tenants in and out of the small house ruins the tranquility that they have a right to expect.

Residents near her second property on Shore Drive now appear to be concerned about the number of people living at that property as well.

A man who identified himself as working for the Indian River County Property Appraiser’s Office knocked on Snyder’s Shore Drive house late Monday morning and asked her if she also rents to individual tenants.

She said he also asked her how many people were living in the four-bedroom home.

Snyder said the man told her he received a complaint that multiple people lived in the home. She said the man declined to come inside the house but she explained the living arrangements: Five people now live there, four men and Snyder. 

Snyder said she shares one bedroom with her boyfriend.  Another is occupied by a man who moved out of her home on Banyan Road, taking his large white extended cab pick-up and a motorcycle trailer with him to the Shore Drive house.

Snyder said she explained to the appraiser's employee Monday that she rents out individual rooms but the tenants share common areas like a kitchen and family room and for the most part act as a family unit.

“We all had Easter dinner together,” Snyder said.

 Snyder said the man left in a truck. “Look there is nothing going on here," she said. "It’s a regular house with roommates – kind of like the Golden Girls.”

Property Appraiser David Nolte said a worker went to Snyder's 707 Shore Drive home after reading last week's Vero Beach 32963 story to confirm that she was renting rooms out.

Nolte said he wanted to see firsthand if Snyder qualifies for the full homestead exemption she claims on the Shore Drive property.

"When I got in the office this morning, people were still talking about the article," Nolte said. He said he wasn't ready to say if the exemption would be taken away from Snyder and he wanted staff to research the matter further. 

He said whatever decision is made is important because others may be trying to make ends meet by renting individual rooms.

“I’m wondering what other departments are going to come out here and visit with me,” said Snyder.  “What will it be next, the sewer people? The roof inspection people? Someone is out to get me.  Maybe I’ll come home and find the Coast Guard. Who knows what is next?  … Maybe it will be the paint police.”

Prior to the late Monday morning visit by the appraiser's office employee, Snyder said five cars or pickups are now in the driveway of the Shore Drive home and no neighbors have complained.

Not so, says Frank Catania of Banyan Road, the man who first bought her Banyan Road situation to the attention of the city.

Over the weekend, Catania said someone from Shore Drive contacted him after seeing the Vero Beach 32963 story and asked what could be done improve the situation on Shore Drive.

“I told him to call [City Planning Director Tim] McGarry,” Catania said.

As far as the Banyan Road situation goes, the city maintains its hands are tied and it cannot regulate such practices provided Snyder isn’t renting rooms for less than 30 days.

Catania’s lawyer has filed an appeal with the city and is demanding paperwork from City Attorney Wayne Coment that supports McGarry’s decision that Snyder is not in the wrong. 

Also as of Monday afternoon, Snyder said she had not received a copy of Catania and attorney Michael O’Haire’s appeal.