Group Recommends Better Code Enforcement in College Park

I posted earlier on the report that the Quality of Life group worked earlier. Here is what they recommend on the ways to increase Code Enforcement Effectiveness.

1. Increase collaboration and communication between various police agencies (UMPD, PGPD, City contract police), City code enforcement, and Noise Board).

2. Hire dedicated, part-time, contract noise enforcement staff to work during evenings and weekends.

3. Use C-MAST (City Multi-Agency Services Team) data to identify appropriate times to staff noise enforcement.

4. Install surveillance cameras in key areas & work with the City Multi-Agency Services Team (C MAST) on targeted problem areas.

5. Alter procedures for issuing noise citations: If enforcement agent is not easily able to determine tenant names, agents should issue fines in the name of the landlord and post on the door as well as notify landlord through City electronic notification system.

6. Permit Code Enforcement Officers to take noise readings from the safety of their vehicle without the presence of a police officer (unless they feel they are in danger).

7. Revise noise warning letters and violation letters to include more information about the details of the noise complaint or violation.

8. Enable code enforcement officers and police to take photographs and video (including sound) to document party problems.

9. Utilize nuisance abatement strategies that were adopted by the Baltimore City Council in 2011.

In the Baltimore statute, “neighborhood nuisance” means any premises on or in which an owner, operator, tenant, or occupant of the premises:
(1) acts in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace; or
(2) creates or maintains conditions that lets others to act in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace.

10. Require Noise Control Board to refer violations to the UMCP Office of Student Affairs (for enforcement under the Code of Student Conduct), Community Oriented Policing (COPS) officers, and/or new student peer enforcement mechanisms created by IFC/PHA or SGA to provide education and additional sanctions (such as community service).

11. Limit the maximum fine reduction that the Noise Control Board may grant to no more than ½ of the fine (with fine reductions given for first-time offenses only).

12. Lower decibel limits for noise violation thresholds.

13. Add community service as an additional sanction to fines.

14. Add a student representative to the Noise Board.

15. Develop new IFC/PHA mechanism for peer-to-peer noise and code enforcement.

16. Educate community members when and how to report problems. Develop an easy-to-use matrix detailing typical infractions and nuisances and corresponding contact information detailing how to report problems.

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3 Comments to “Group Recommends Better Code Enforcement in College Park”

  1. By Pat, August 28, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    How about, instead of (quite possibly illegally) pinning noise violations on the property owner, give property owners the ability to register their tenants with the City, so if the noise control people can’t figure out who is causing the noise, they can at least fine the tenants? Maybe a form the tenants can all fill out when they sign the lease that goes to the City, giving names and contact info, as well as calling attention to City code regarding noise and other disturbances?

  2. By Fazlul Kabir, August 28, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

    Hi Pat, Thanks for your comments. The City does require property owners register their properties (not the tenants) with the City. You can see the list of registered rental properties here: http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/Rental_property.asp . That said, I will forward your suggestion to the Quality of Life group. Thanks again.

  3. By anon, August 28, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    Noise is, no doubt, a big issue in certain parts of the city, but what is the city doing about aesthetic nuisances, like trash strewn all over properties, poorly kept homes, overgrown yards, shoddy drainage and other similar compliance issues? I would argue these issues do far more damage to the city than noise issues because they directly impact the image and perception of College Park to our thousands of visitors each year. We should do something to address these issues, too.

    As we’re trying to recast this as a thriving, safe, and inviting community for young professionals, families, students and just about everyone, the little things really matter. You can spend thousands on marketing and rebranding campaigns, but none of that will matter if the city still looks downtrodden and poorly kept. I wish we did more to mind this small stuff if we’re serious about improving College Park.