The City of San Luis Obispo experienced less than 1,500 noise complaints in 2017, the lowest number on record with an overall drop of 40 percent since 1998, according to a press release issued by the city Feb. 26.
“Over the past 25 years, the City has implemented several initiatives to manage neighborhood noise including 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,” the press release said.
In 2017, the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) unveiled a pilot program to register parties in advance. Since then, SLOPD has received 46 party registrations, approved 34 of those registrations and issued no citations, according to the press release. However, SLOPD made five warning phone calls for noise complaints at registered parties.
Neighborhood Outreach Manager for SLOPD Christine Wallace discussed the police department’s future plans to improve off-campus student relations with the city and police to keep noise complaints down.
“SLOPD will continue with the outreach and education to students as they come to Cal Poly and transition from on-campus housing to off-campus housing,” Wallace wrote in an email to Mustang News. “We have a great partnership with the University and rely heavily on the relationship with Off Campus Programs, [Associated Students, Inc.], Housing, UPD, Orientation and Greek Affairs to reach students in a variety of ways with information about city municipal codes.”
Wallace also shared efforts to educate students about the city’s laws to reduce citations.
“The biggest challenge we face is educating 20,000 students annually,” Wallace wrote. “We use social media, posters, door hangers, in person meetings and our campus partners to spread the word.”
The reduced noise complaints also come as a result of school wellness and accountability programs, according to the press release.
“Cal Poly has expanded efforts to promote neighborhood wellness and hold students accountable for off campus behavior, including noise,” the press release said. “Through its Noise Awareness Campaign and the Educated Renter Certificate Program (ERCP), the university has distributed information about [San Luis Obispo] City ordinances and being a responsible party host to students interested in moving off campus.”
For Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey, the reduction in noise complaints means he is achieving his goals of improving city and student relations.
“Promoting neighborhood wellness was one of the first directions President Armstrong gave me when I arrived at Cal Poly years ago,” Humphrey wrote in an email to Mustang News. “When I looked at the data around student behavior off campus I was immediately concerned about student health, wellness and academic success at Cal Poly that could result from disruptive behavior off-campus.”
Humphrey discussed some of the programs he helped establish to this end.
“Perhaps the most significant thing that we did was to partner with the City and Cuesta College to develop the Neighborhood Wellness/Community Civility Working Group and subsequent report that was designed to bring about positive change in our community,” Humphrey wrote. “This report took about 18 months to develop and was a collaborative effort that included students, neighbors, and leaders from the universities and city.”
City of San Luis Obispo officials said they expect improved relations with Cal Poly in the future.
“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 press release concluded. “The university remains in constant communication with the neighborhood wellness liaison to address incidents as they arise.”