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Neighbors grumble about Flat Rock vacation cottage

FLAT ROCK — Like it or not, Stonebridge neighbors are powerless to stop a homeowner from renting a cottage to vacationers.

Residents of the upscale neighborhood with the eponymous stone bridge entryway have complained to Flat Rock village officials that a homeowner is renting a cottage through the Vacation Rentals By Owner website. The property owners, Victor Behoriam and Darlene Miller, live in the historic Beckon Ridge house and own an adjoining lot that contains a small pond and a one-bedroom cottage they rent to vacationers.
Village administrator Judy Boleman, who is also the zoning enforcement officer, told the council on Monday that the rental cottage was a not a zoning violation because the cottage is on a separate lot and complies with all land-use requirements. She said she checked with zoning officials in Hendersonville, Laurel Park and Mills River, who told her they too had received a few complaints about rentals.
"They treat it like any other rental house situation, whether it is rented for 2 days or 2 years ... a rental house is a rental house," she said in an email to Village Council members.
Behoriam, a semi-retired commercial property owner from the Catskills in New York, says some Stonebridge neighbors have been unfriendly since the couple started renting out the "Gardener's Cottage at Beckon Ridge" last October. He said some neighbors mistakenly believe he bought a larger piece of property adjoining his land with plans to build more vacation cottages. The land did recently sell, he said, but he was not the buyer and he has no plans to build vacation cottages.
Beckon Ridge, which has a driveway on Little River Road, is on four acres. The cottage and pond are on a five-acre lot.
The vacation cottage, which is two stories with a balcony, a queen bed, a bathroom and a full kitchen, has received positive reviews from vacationers commenting on the VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) website. Visitors praised the "delightful cozy cabin" for its peaceful setting and proximity to the village of Flat Rock.
The VRBO has made it easier for absentee homeowners to rent their property for short stays. The website lists four vacation rentals of private homes or condos in Kenmure and numerous others throughout the county.