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Nuisance Law Passed with Some Changes

At last night’s meeting, the City Council held a Public Hearing on the Ordinance 19-O-13, “Nuisances”, an ordinance amending Chapter 141, Nuisances, that prohibits unruly social gatherings as a nuisance.

After a lengthy testimony from residents, students and property owners, the ordinance passed unanimously.

According to the draft 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.

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.

Four amendments were added to the draft the ordinance. The amendments were passed 5-3.
(1) The Mayor and Council will review this law in one year from the date of its adoption to determine that its operation is fair and effective, together with quarterly reviews with stakeholders.
(2) Unruly social gathering is defined as a party, event, or assemblage of eight (instead of four) or more persons at a residence or other private property
(3) A municipal infraction based only on excessive noise will not be issued under this section if one is issued under §138-6 of the city code for the same occurrence. Excessive noise will not be cited as part of a municipal infraction issued under this section unless An accurate sound-level meter reading for the same occurrence is not feasible or practicable.
(4) Third and subsequent violations Owner $500 (instead of $1,000) and suspension or revocation of the occupancy permit for the property effective at the end of the current leasing period.

The Council will discuss the implementation of this ordinance at next week’s meeting.

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1 Comment to “Nuisance Law Passed with Some Changes”

  1. By Marilyn Conrad, October 1, 2019 @ 9:33 am

    Mr. Kabir,
    You are more then welcomed to put a poster sign on my property for the upcoming elections and my best wishes for your success.
    4926 Lackawanna Street, College Park,MD

    Sincerely,
    Marilyn (Scooter) Conrad