SLO wants to get tougher on hosts of unruly parties

San Luis Obispo residents who host rowdy parties could face stiff fines under a proposed law being presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

The proposal, dubbed the “unruly gathering ordinance,” would allow police officers to fine hosts of parties of 20 or more people that create what they deem to be a substantial disturbance. The fine would be $700 for the first offense. Additional citations would cost party hosts $1,000.

Multiple complaints, crowds overflowing to neighboring properties or streets, traffic interference and large, unruly crowds constitute such a disturbance, police Chief Deborah Linden said.

“If you are a block away and you can hear thumping from music, it is probably a substantial disturbance,” said Linden, adding that complaints of these kinds of gatherings come in almost every weekend.

People attending the party would be fined only if they are found to be violating the ordinance by doing acts such as: urinating or defecating in public, vandalizing nearby property, setting off fireworks, obstructing streets or appearing to be drunk in public.

The proposed ordinance is one of five methods the city plans to use to curb disturbances related to parties and noise. The council in September expressed support for getting tougher on partying and the landlords who own homes where noisy parties are held.

In January, the council toughened the city’s noise-restriction ordinance to fine residents up to $1,000 for repeated violations and hold property owners accountable.

That ordinance is currently the only legal means that can be used to enforce the crackdown on what officials consider over-the-top parties, Linden said.

“This ordinance kicks it up a notch and hopefully will serve as an incentive for party hosts to not let smaller gatherings become unruly,” she said.

Property owners would also be held responsible for gatherings deemed to be unruly. If a resident is cited for having such a gathering, the property owner would be notified by a certified letter and be given two weeks to remedy the future disruptive behavior. The property owners can be given a $500 fine for subsequent violations.

If approved Tuesday, the ordinance would go back for a final council vote April 20. If it’s approved then, it would take effect in late May.

Future efforts to curb what officials consider to be excessive partying in the city could include modifications to existing ordinances or new ones that would:

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.

Feeding ducks in SLO may give you another bill

At its Tuesday’s meeting, the San Luis Obispo City Council is set to vote on a proposed ordinance that would forbid anyone from feeding ducks at various locations in town.

City leaders are considering the proposed Urban Storm Water Quality Management and Discharge Control Ordinance, which addresses animal waste in parks, on sidewalks and parkways. The city considers it one of San Luis Obispo’s big problems.

City officials contend that feeding ducks leads to an increased population, which then leads to increased animal waste in bodies of water.

Under the proposal — which forbids feeding animals or leaving food in trash bins within 100 feet of a lake or creek — anyone who feeds a duck would get ticketed and could be fined.

— Amy Dempsey