Mark Lane is a quiet residential side street in Milton with manicured lawns, midpriced cars parked in driveways, and few people out and about. Near one end of the road is a gray, ordinary-looking house with a curving driveway and shades drawn on its many windows.
But on Labor Day weekend, the street was crammed with more than 350 cars, police said, and behind the home, in a nearly 6,000-square-foot pool house hidden from the street view, it was chaos.
When police responded to a complaint about cars parked on the street, they reported finding 1,500 people at an event that had been advertised on Twitter as the “Make It Nasty Mansion Pool Party,” with tickets at $15 and $20.
Police shut down the Sept. 1 party, and the home’s owners, Steve and Sharon Mathieu, have been charged with selling liquor without a permit. They are due in Quincy District Court on Nov. 28 for arraignment.
According to neighbors and Milton police, the house has seen a lot of visitors in the past few years, with the pool house rented out on numerous occasions.
Now residents are hoping that after the legal process runs its course on the Labor Day party, Mark Lane can become just another nondescript street in Milton.
The Mathieus did not answer numerous phone calls seeking comment.
Neighbors said they have had little interaction with the Mathieus, and the Milton police could provide few details about the couple. Records in the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds show that the Mathieus purchased the home in April 2005 for $995,000.
According to Louis Cassis, who lives across the street, it was about five years ago that neighbors got a taste of things to come.
First it was a summer camp that was advertised in fliers distributed by the couple. Neighbors complained, and the town blocked the idea.
Then there were countless times when balloons went up in front of the house and cars parked in the driveway.
“There was a constant, not every weekend, but certainly a series of events, where there’d be 10 to 15 cars parked — people who didn’t live in the neighborhood and parents dropping off kids,” Cassis said.
But he also said that events were never so large that he or others raised more than an eyebrow.
“It was going on for a long time, but it was never so big’’ as the Labor Day party, “it was more controlled,” he said.
Police said the Sept. 1 incident was the first time they had been called to the property, but it wasn’t the first time an event or fund-raiser was held in the pool house.
“Our investigation revealed that they had been renting it for a while, there had been numerous groups that had rented it,” Police Chief Richard Wells said. “It was not clear if there was ever anything of this size, but the history was definitely there.”
Wells would not elaborate on the nature of the previous parties, citing “ongoing proceedings,” but did say that while the parties were not unusual for the town, the size and scope of the Labor Day bash was not common.
“We’ve always had cases where homes were being used for this type of thing — weddings, graduations, fund-raisers — but it’s very rare that someone would invite 1,000-plus people,” Wells said.
According to the “Make It Nasty” invitation, which featured a woman posed provocatively in a bikini, the party was hosted not by the Mathieus but by “Broz4Life” and “Bed Rock Bros.” On its Twitter page, the latter’s logo carries the words “luxury clothing company.”
The pool house was built in the early 1990s by the property’s previous owner, Cassis said. It can be accessed from the cellar of the main house or from the yard.
The building is larger than the main home and virtually hidden from the road. According to Wells, if it hadn’t been for the parked cars, no one but neighbors would have known the party was going on.
“There was sort of a perfect-storm scenario,” Wells said. “You have a really secluded pool house so the renters were able to [keep] everyone inside; from what I’ve seen, it’s a perfect place to have something like this.”
Cassis said he believes that it isn’t the property’s layout or the in-ground pool that made it a perfect place for parties.
“The house isn’t the cause here; the people are the reason this happened,” he said.
Separate from the allegations involving the sale of alcohol without a license, the big party was a violation of the town’s health code, said Milton’s health director, Michael Blanchard.
He said the Board of Health doesn’t normally get involved with parties other than to issue a permit for catering, but the Sept. 1 event was an exception.
“In this case, we had the type of party where you had to buy tickets and the pool became considered public use — that’s a violation,” Blanchard said.
As a result, the Health Department issued a cease-and-desist letter to the Mathieus, ordering them to no longer hold any public or semipublic events at the pool.
The letter also said the couple had the right to a Board of Health hearing within a week of receiving the letter, but Blanchard said the town had not heard from the Mathieus by the deadline.
The town’s police chief noted that while many of Milton’s homes may be used for parties, there is hardly ever liquor being sold.
“The real teeth here is the selling of the liquor. You have to be licensed,” Wells said. “There was clearly planning, coordination, and they were renting it out with the intent to sell liquor illegally.”
In Milton, residents or businesses interested in selling alcohol at a specific event must apply for a one-day liquor license through the Board of Selectmen.
The board reviews the request and most often approves a one- or two-day event, chairman Tom Hurley said. Each year, about a half-dozen licenses are requested, mostly for fund-raisers, he said.
“We don’t get a ton, and when we do, it’s really just for nonprofits and there’s really not many times when people are just having a party and want to sell’’ alcohol, Hurley said.
Since the party, the couple has appeared once in court for a probable cause hearing, and neighbors say the home has remained quiet.
“This was a very unique event,’’ said Cassis. “I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere, especially not in a residential neighborhood,’’ he added.
“This is very different, a once-in-a lifetime event.”