City council is reviewing a pilot party registration program that could give San Luis Obispo residents who host parties an opportunity to quiet down before a citation is issued.
The program would allow a host to register a party location with the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) a day or so in advance. The details are still in the works.
SLOPD proposed the plan to the San Luis Obispo city council after receiving input from Cal Poly’s Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) and Interfraternity Council (IFC).
The new program would have the following steps:
1. Registration of a house/apartment unit with SLOPD the day before/day of a party
2. A tenant’s signature approving the agreement
3. Allowance of a 20-minute time window to quiet down after a noise complaint is called in. The house must be registered the day before/of the party to receive this right.
“They’re not trying to do this just to know where the parties are at,” ASI President and agricultural sciences senior Jana Colombini said. “They’re trying to do this to preserve the benefit of being a homeowner or renter in San Luis Obispo.”
If police spend less time patrolling parties, they could use that time to prevent other crimes, like theft or drunk driving, San Luis Obispo Neighborhood Outreach Director Christine Wallace said.
The city’s current noise ordinance states that a violation occurs when a resident can hear noise from a neighbor’s house within 50 feet of their property between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Additionally, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., residents who hear noise from across their property line can report it.
While the pilot party registration program is relevant to students, the program would apply to residents city-wide.
“This isn’t catered just to students—but SLO PD has reached out to community members as well saying if you’re hosting a wedding, super bowl or birthday party, it’s going to encourage them to register their houses as well,” IFC president and business administration junior Danny Halprin said. “This a wide encompassing program.”
Though San Luis Obispo party noise data shows a 64 percent decrease in party noise violations since 2009, the pilot party registration program would provide new options to residents and police.
“We see this as an opportunity to do two things: to give folks a chance to register their party to avoid a citation, and free up time for police to do proactive enforcement like theft and DUI,”
The pilot party registration is not unique to San Luis Obispo. The program is modeled after a similar one in place at University of Colorado, Boulder.
Boulder’s system is a two-step process: registering a party with off-campus housing by noon the day before and registering a name, student ID, telephone number and address.
If the party-goers at the registered house make too much noise and a neighbor complains, a dispatcher will call the registered tenant. Attendees then have 20 minutes to quiet down before the house is issued a citation. For San Luis Obispo, the first citation will cost $350.
“It gives you a free warning,” Halprin said.
The final decision to approve the program will come this spring.
Note: A quote from IFC President Danny Halprin has been added to the story.