The San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of Police Chief Deborah Linden’s proposal that would allow for stricter enforcement and administration of noise violations in the city. Linden and Public Information Officer Ian Parkinson presented the council with recommendations to amend the procedures for residential noise regulations, the first of five strategies Linden and Parkinson first presented at a Sept. 29 council meeting.
Parkinson is a candidate for San Luis Obispo County sheriff.
Linden recommended that residences in violation of noise regulations be placed on a ‘premises list’ after the first issuance of a Disturbance Advisory Card (DAC). DACs are the formal citation city residents receive when they violate city noise regulations. She also recommended that residences remain on the list for six months after the violation.
As of Jan. 19 there were 137 houses on the city’s premises list. Chief Linden said the number would drastically rise if the ordinance was adopted.
The number of noise complaints to the police department has dropped from 2897 violations in 2007 to 2700 last year. However, the number of DACs has increased over the same time period.
The fine for a DAC is $350. Residents also have the option of performing 35 hours of community service in lieu of the administrative fine.
Other municipal code changes included the creation of a process for property owners or tenants to apply for early removal from the premises list, the ability to hold residential property owners responsible for repeat noise violations, and to modify the notification process to property owners and have a community service option for first time offenders only.
Council Member Allen Settle motioned to pass the ordinance, amending the length of time on the premises list, from six to nine months, which was approved by all council members.
Linden’s remaining four strategies dealt with unruly gatherings, a curfew for those under 18, regulation of property owners’ licenses and a safety enhancement zone ordinance.
Associated Students Inc. president Kelly Griggs said she was disappointed in the decision and that it solidified the notion that this was targeted at students with the ordinances language and the nine month amendment related to the length of the academic school year.
“Students weren’t asked to participate in the beginning; we sort of had to come in after the fact, so we were reacting rather than sitting down and collaborating beforehand,” Griggs said.
Some Cal Poly students attended the meeting and voiced their opinions.
“I feel that a lot of these actions and propositions are alienating the student population from the rest of the community. A true and effective community is one that works together instead of being split like oil and water,” mechanical engineering junior Derek Brangham said.
While some saw the ordinance as a way of splitting the community others saw it as a way to protect their community.
Community member Sandra Rowley spoke at the meeting and said, “Most students are here for an education unfortunately there are some that are here to party. Some think that becuase they are considered adults under the law it means they are free to do anything they want, anytime they want, without consequences and without taking responsibility for their actions.”