Huge Hudson house party has neighbors demanding action from city

Jeff Saunders
Kent Weeklies
6878 Windsor Road, Hudson

HUDSON — Residents in the northeast quadrant of East Streetsboro Street and Stow Road say an Oct. 10 party in their neighborhood was not fun for them by any stretch, and they want city officials to do something about it.

Linda O'Grady, president of the East Hudson Hills Community Association, described the scene in her neighborhood that night at City Council’s virtual meeting Tuesday.

“There was screaming, bottles breaking through the night as many of us sat in our homes in shock, disbelief and fear,” she said.

The party at a Windsor Road home, described as a short-term rental property on the corner of Doug Avenue, generated several police reports.

Police estimated that as many as 400 people attended, with cars parked all over the neighborhood.

City Manager Jane Howington said a public forum on the matter is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 12. The forum may be virtual and accessible via the city’s website.

“I know we all are very unsettled that something like this could happen in a neighborhood like yours or like any of ours,” she told residents.

Police said they initially responded to the home at about 9:30 p.m. after a woman reported she had rented the home to another person and was concerned about a party there, with vehicles parked on grass on top of the home's septic tank.

Police said an attendee told them that it was just a small party and the vehicles would be removed. Police said that at that time, they considered it a civil matter between the woman and the person who rented the home for the weekend and they left.

Police said they later determined that the woman was renting the home herself from an Alliance man and had sub-rented it via the online vacation rental site VRBO.

At about 10:50 p.m., police said they returned after receiving reports of “a very large, loud and out-of-control party” at the home.

“Upon our arrival at this location, an extremely large amount of vehicles were observed parked on the street,” said a police report. “Vehicles were observed as blocking driveways, mailboxes, intersections and also blocking roadways for emergency vehicles to travel through."

The affected streets included Harland Drive, Windsor Road to Deer Hollow, Doug Avenue, Evergreen Drive and Dana Avenue.

Using an intercom, police said they informed people at the party that their vehicles were illegally parked and that there were health concerns due to COVID-19.

But people kept arriving at the party until after 1 a.m., and others refused to move their vehicles, police wrote in a report.

After about 30 minutes, police started having vehicles towed. Police said they responded to various reports of a fight, an assault and a couple of car crashes related to the party.

Police, however, said they never entered the home, as the use of the property was a civil matter to be worked out between the property owner and the host of the party.

Police said the last vehicles left around 3 a.m., though some people remained.

“This property has been a short-term rental for a little over two years,” said O'Grady, whose Doug Avenue home is next to the Windsor home. “Starting this past spring, there have been several events of 50 or 60 people culminating with the 300 to 400 people.”

Doug Avenue resident Diane Kindt, the community association’s vice president, said “I’ve never been so terrified in my life” after witnessing fighting and commotion that continued until around 5 a.m.

“Our police did what they could that night with limited resources, but it was a gunshot away from a national story,” she said.

Doug Avenue resident Domenic Iammarino said he witnessed much of what happened and tried not to draw any attention to his home. “I turned off all of my outside lights as a protective measure,” he said, adding, “I did not feel my family and neighbors were safe. A mob incident could occur.”

Kathy Johnson, who lives directly across the street from the Windsor home, said she was the one who initially contacted the woman who had called the police when she saw the party developing.

“I, like my other neighbors, was very scared that evening,” she said. “We stayed all evening watching the party.”

Police Chief Perry Tabak told council that charges have been filed against the 31-year-old Akron woman who hosted the party.

According to Stow Municipal Court records, she has been charged with misdemeanor violations in connection with allegations that the party violated state orders prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people and an allegation that attendees caused more than $1,500 in damages to the home.

Tabak said other charges are being looked at, including for possible zoning violations.

Meanwhile, Tabak said Hudson police are working with other area police departments on training and cooperation in such situations.

“This isn’t unique to Hudson,” he said. “I know it doesn’t happen a lot, but we have had a couple of instances with large parties and it has happened in other communities as well, so we’re looking for ways to respond more appropriately when we do have things like this.”

Tabak said he believes the way to ultimately prevent future occurrences is developing zoning or licensing regulations for such short-term rentals, and Howington said the city’s planning and law departments are researching that, including what other communities are doing about it. She said she hopes that by the Nov. 12 forum, more solid information will be available.

“We want whatever we do to be enforceable and legal,” she said.

O'Grady called her neighborhood “a quiet, peaceful community.”

“The next morning, because we are a remarkable neighborhood, everyone in the neighborhood was cleaning up all the bottles, broken glass, and you would not have known anything had happened in our neighborhood by 10 a.m., except the property in question,” she said. “We expect and demand swift action from our Council because dangerous situations cannot happen in our neighborhood, let alone anywhere else in Hudson.”

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at jsaunders@recordpub.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.