Avalon is facing a new quandary for shore towns - what to do about large homes in residential neighborhoods that are being marketed as mini destination resorts for business meetings, weddings and other events.
Avalon officials have talked about stepping up enforcement of noise and nuisance laws and are considering banning what they call "resort houses" in residential zones. This week, they sent an ordinance to do just that back to the drawing board. They are expected to reconsider it in about a month.
Other towns will probably have to deal with the same question soon. Shore homes have gotten larger and larger, and in a market that is still recovering from the recession, real estate agents and owners will keep looking for new ways to market homes and keep the mortgage paid.
So these shore mansions, with all the comforts of home and that most precious of commodities - location, location, location - are being marketed as the perfect place to hold the next big event in your life. And if your guests have a little too much fun, they can just stumble into one of the many bedrooms.
In Avalon, neighbors have been complaining since last summer about a 48th Street house whose owner is booking frequent events with as many as 50 guests and advertising the property as having "concierge" amenities, including linen and limousine service and setting up coolers and cabanas on the beach.
We're all for entrepreneurship, but this seems like an easy call. These houses that operate as commercial entities - some with as many rooms as a small hotel - don't belong in residential zones.
The devil, of course, is in the fine print. Avalon officials say they want to make sure that they don't get in the way of private-property owners who want to have a family wedding at home, for instance.
But there's a big difference between the occasional private party at a home - even a gigantic home - and a commercial enterprise.
People who live in residential zones have a right to expect that their enjoyment of a summer weekend won't be dampened by frequent large parties and the steady stream of caterers, florists, guests, trash - and the accompanying revelry that lasts into the night - they can bring to a neighborhood.
And legitimate guest houses, inns and hotels have a right to know that their businesses will not be undercut by people who are trying to surreptitiously run a commercial enterprise where it doesn't belong.
If this is a budding trend, it needs to be pruned, and we're glad Avalon officials are taking it seriously. Their cohorts in other shore towns would be wise to do likewise.