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BG ordinances target parties

Two new potential city nuisance ordinances may make it a little more difficult for some students to party off campus and may also make the landlord to lesee relationship a little more strenuous.

A nuisance party ordinance and an amended nuisance property ordinance are scheduled for public hearing March 15 at 7 p.m., the Monday students get back from spring break.

City officials were quick to mention that these ordinances are not to keep people from partying; just those that are deemed a nuisance.

“I want to make this clear. This isn’t the city saying that University students shouldn’t have parties, we are not taking a side here,” said Matthew Reger, city prosecutor. “We are essentially cracking down on those few houses that are consistently a nuisance.”

The first ordinance is defined as a social gathering that essentially has disorderly conduct, or illegal open container, or outdoor urination, or sale or furnishing of beer to an underage person, or property damage without consent of property owner, or unlawfully loud noise or any other conduct that is deemed a public nuisance.

The nuisance property ordinance affects the tenants and landlords. If two or more citations are given in a six month period of time under the above criteria to the same individual or residency, the owners of the residencies will be penalized.

“In a nutshell, what we are attempting to do is to encourage landlords to be more active in solving nuisance problems in our residential neighborhoods,” said Michael Zickar, Ward 2 city councilperson.

The first penalties would be given to the party or individual that was actually convicted of the nuisance violations, but if the second penalty comes soon after, the resident and the landlords would both be in trouble if convicted.

“After the offenses, the landlord would be required to come up with a plan of correction that the city prosecutor would oversee to make sure the nuisance was abated,” Zickar said. “Landlords could face a penalty if they fail to come up with a plan of correction or rail to implement it.”

According to Reger these new ordinances most likely won’t apply to the normal party goer or even the majority of the student body, but they need to be implemented due to past problems.

“Last fall we had a lot of parties that got out of hand,” Reger said. “But the overall intent of this statute is to bring landlords to the table and involve them in issues of conflict between residents and students.”

Making a stronger relationship between the lesee and the landlords might not make the problems or angst lesee’s have towards landlords any easier.

“All I can say is that landlords are no fun picnic,” said Dan Welsh senior at the University. “If they (landlords) can partake in the fee we get charged it would most likely just get put back onto us. I just think it’s an unfair system no matter how you look at it. The landlord always wins regardless.”

Penalties for each offense have not yet been decided by individual landlords. Some landlords are meeting to discuss their stance before the public hearing.

“This is meant to bring another person to the table to discuss neighborhood quality of life issues,” Reger said. “I ask that students put themselves in the place of a resident or landlord and ask themselves if they would want to know if illegal activity was going on in the house they owned?”

Students, city residents, landlords and city officials will all have the opportunity to speak their mind on March 15 on the second floor of the City Building at 304 N. Church St. After the public hearing, city council will take heed of what will be discussed and vote whether or not to adopt these proposed ordinances.

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