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Council Mulls Curbing Unruly Social Gatherings in the City

Prince George’s Police Department

At last night’s meeting, the Council reviewed an ordinance amending Chapter 141, Nuisances, that prohibits unruly social gatherings as a nuisance.

According to the proposed ordinance, an unruly social gathering will constitute a party, event, or assemblage of four or more persons at a residence or other private property where:
A. Alcoholic beverages are being furnished to, consumed by, Or in possession of any underage person in violation of state law; or
B. Behavior or conduct is occurring that results in a substantial disturbance of the peace and quiet enjoyment of private or public property, which may include the following:
(1) Excessive noise is prohibited in chapter 138 of the code;
(2) Excessive traffic that is significantly above and beyond the normal amount of Pedestrian or vehicle traffic for the day, date, and time Of day for the neighborhood;
(3) Use of a controlled substance by any person at the Gathering;
(4) Obstruction of public streets or the presence of unruly Crowds that have spilled onto public streets;
(5) Public drunkenness or unlawful consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages;
(6) Assaults, batteries, fights, or other disturbances of the peace;
(7) Vandalism of public or private property;
(8) Public urination or defecation;
(9) Littering; or
(10) Other conduct which constitutes a threat to the public Safety, quiet enjoyment of residential or other private property, or the general welfare.

The proposed changes to Chapter 141 are similar to ordinances adopted by Baltimore County, MD and the City of Kent, Ohio, which were previously reviewed and discussed by Mayor, Council and staff. According to news articles, the Baltimore County ordinance has significantly reduced the number of unruly gatherings since it was first established a few years ago.

The unruly social gathering is prohibited as a nuisance. A violation is subject to a municipal infraction and fine, with a warning given on first offense to property owners. In addition, if there are three such violations in a 24-month period, the Public Services Director may schedule a hearing before the City’s Advisory Planning Commission for suspension or revocation of the City occupancy permit issued to a property. This is similar to the authority granted to the Director for Noise Code violations.

The ordinance is scheduled t be introduced next week.

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