Judge shuts down Vancouver millionaire’s late night penthouse hot tub parties

·National Affairs Contributor

Here's a cautionary tale for those of you contemplating the hip downtown lifestyle in the forests of high-rise condos growing up in big cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

Residents of a swanky building in Vancouver's Yaletown neighbourhood had to resort to a court injunction to put a lid on late-night parties regularly thrown by the millionaire inhabiting its penthouse.

Steven Newell, who owns the mammoth Windset Farms greenhouse operation vegetable operation, moved into the top unit of the 37-storey skyscraper at 193 Aquarius Mews in June 2010.

What Newell, 38, paid for his place isn't known, but a 745-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in the building currently has an asking price of $569,000.

Newell then spent $800,000 on renovations. A B.C. Supreme Court judge heard the upgrades included a free-standing hot tub and barbecue kitchen that needed a crane to hoist it onto the patio, Global BC News reported. He also added a high-end sound system.

[ Related: Toronto and condos: it's complicated ]

Then the parties started. Followed by the complaints from the lesser mortals living beneath him.

"We have been kept up all night from the noise above," resident David Beilhartz wrote in his court submission, according to the National Post.

"I am being denied the peace and quiet I am entitled to under the bylaws, suffering fatique [sic] and stress and possibly suffering financially with the impact this situation has on my resale value."

He also complained Newell's party guests were pelting his balcony with beer bottles.

The Post said other neighbours complained of rumbling walls and footsteps pounding at 4 a.m. The building concierge called police repeatedly.

One neighbour, who actually bought his adjacent penthouse from Newell, however claimed he was only disturbed once by loud music, which Newell apologetically turned down when asked.

The strata council responded to the chronic complaints by levying $200 fines against Newell under the building's noise bylaw.

[ Related: 'Micro suites' proposed for Vancouver-area development ]

But in her ruling, Justice Elaine Adair said he paid them willingly and they were "no hardship at all" to Newell, whose greenhouse business extends from B.C. to California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Newell claimed in his submission that noise is just part of the reality of living in a bustling downtown neighbourhood.

"He says that, from his penthouse, he can hear screaming from games at B.C. Place Stadium, bongo drums during the jazz festival, music and voices of parties on cruises, diners arriving and leaving restaurants, and the like," read court documents, according to the Post.

But Justice Adair didn't buy Newell's argument.

"Newell's attitude seems to be that his closest neighbours … are killjoys and do not belong in Yaletown," she wrote. "But Yaletown living does not give Mr. Newell an excuse for ignoring the bylaws of his strata corporation."

The judge banned Newell from using his entertainment system, playing musical instruments on his outdoor patio or using his hot tub between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., the "quiet hours" stipulated in the strata's bylaws.

[ Related: Lawsuits launched over Calgary condo renovation ]

"Mr. Newell has displayed a poor grasp of one of the basic principles of condominium living — even in Yaletown," Justice Adair wrote, according to the Globe and Mail.

"Proximity dictates that some forbearance and discretion is required … in order to avoid the infliction of misery upon fellow occupants."

Newell told the Globe he would abide by the judge's restrictions, which he said were reasonable.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting