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SLO noise complaints hit a record low last year — here’s why

A garage roof fully collapsed at 348 Hathway during a March 2015 party in San Luis Obispo.
A garage roof fully collapsed at 348 Hathway during a March 2015 party in San Luis Obispo.

The city of San Luis Obispo says noise complaints hit a record low last year, and it’s crediting the drop to concentrated efforts by the Police Department and Cal Poly.

In 2017, San Luis Obispo recorded fewer than 1,500 noise complaints — an overall reduction of more than 40 percent since 1998, according to city data.

The city’s Police Department announced a pilot program last year aimed at encouraging students to register events in advance to potentially avoid fines for noise and other violations.

Since the program began, the Police Department has received 46 party registrations, approved 34 of those registrations, and issued no citations. Police made five warning phone calls for noise complaints at registered parties.

Over the past 25 years, other city initiatives have included adopting noise and unruly gathering ordinances, establishing Safety Enhancement Zones for holidays such as Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day, and forming both a Neighborhood Wellness/Community Civility Working Group and Neighborhood Officer Program.

Additionally, Cal Poly has focused on holding students accountable for off-campus behavior, including noise. The university strives to inform students through its Noise Awareness Campaign and the Educated Renter Certificate Program (ERCP) about city ordinances and being a responsible party host.

“It has encouraged community involvement by students through events such as Good Neighbor Day and Cleanup Week and has established proactive outreach to student leaders within student government, fraternity and sorority life, and clubs and organizations,” the city wrote in a statement. “ The university remains in constant communication with the neighborhood wellness liaison to address incidents as they arise.”

For more information about city noise ordinances and neighborhood outreach, go to http://slocity.org/government/department-directory/police-department/neighborhood-outreach.

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