Local News

Apr 7, 2010 12:13 AM by Monica Quintero

"Unruly gathering" ordinance being discussed in San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo partiers better keep things under control. Steep fines could be imposed if they don't in the near future. A proposed ordinance, referred to as the "unruly gathering" ordinance, will be discussed at the San Luis Obispo City Council meeting Tuesday night. Under the proposed ordinance, someone could be fined the first time $700 if a party gets out of hand. Additional citations could cost $1,000. But the city just passed a noise ordinance. So what's the difference between this and that?

Wild parties have been a problem in the past and recently, the city has taken action. Brian Merritt, Cal Poly student, said, "I think we can all agree there are plenty more problems elsewhere in the city." About a month ago, a noise ordinance went into effect in San Luis Obispo. Violators can receive one warning every nine months and the first offense comes with a $350 fine. Subsequent fines run $700 to $1,000. Lieutenant Tom DePriest, San Luis Obispo police, said, "It's a party that would go well beyond what a noise violation is."

Police say the fines for the proposed "unruly gathering" ordinance are significantly more and officers don't even have to issue a warning. Eric Carpenter, Cal Poly student, said, "They keep putting harder and harder fines on us and all the restrictions. I think it's gotten a little too crazy." Lt. DePriest said, "You've got to have several elements come together for that to happen." Elements such as fights, vandalism, alcohol given to minors and public drunkenness. So who will be held responsible? Lt. DePriest said, "Tenants and people who live at the residence. It could be one resident or if you've got four roommates there, they could all be cited." As for the number of people involved, the noise ordinance doesn't specify the number of people. The proposed "unruly gathering" ordinance cites a minimum of 20 people. "Unruly gathering" ordinances are currently in use in several college communities including U.C. Berkley and the University of Arizona. But police said it's city-wide. It doesn't matter if you're a student or an established family. If you break the law, you will pay the price.

We'll fill you in on what people had to say about the proposed ordinance at the council meeting Tuesday night on our news at ten on the CW 5, and at 11 on KSBY.

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