Tuesday night I yet again braved the city council meeting.
There were a couple of relevant items:
A proposal to extend the period between noise complaints. At the moment if the police are called out, they make a warning note (A). If they are called out within 120 days, there is a second note B which carries a large fine (I think like $500). The proposal is to extend the period to 160 days.
Well, the entire student government and frat/sorority dog and pony show was out on this one. Apparently this is a terrible financial strain on students, and we all need to discuss it more. All of them in their suits and tidied up and telling us how high the smart kids’ frat’s GPA is. And, srsly, they snap to applaud. BARF.
It got continued. In part in order to build in something to catch the groups who have been having loud parties every 121 days….
I actually got up and spoke after the puke-worthy pan-Hellenic officers, to point out that no one has a legal right to have even the first police-intervention-worthy event, let along two of them. No excessive noise = no fine. I fail to see how this is a hardship for students.
Then they got onto the Nuisance House. This is the one the developer bought as a former house converted (legally) into two two-bedroom flats with a small garage, and installed an entire (illegal) fourth floor called a mezzanine, and made it a twenty-one (21) bedroom house. It is rented to frat types and they party. Like two hundred drunk kids out on the street at 2am party.
Some of this is an end-run around campus regulation of frats. If they have these parties – people throwing bottles, underaged kids, the whole deal – on campus, they have sanctions. But the program that tracked their events in the wider community ran out of funding.
So I spoke on this one too. A bunch of other people pretty much covered the sheer hideousness of living next to this mess. I pointed out that the landlord is also exploiting the students. That they are having drinking parties on an inadequate roof deck (they have access, but no “deck”). This might be fun, but is really not a good idea with large unruly groups. They have 20+ people living in a small building with staircases and doorways designed for a single family household – god forbid there is a fire. We’re complaining about having to call the police, but it is only luck that we are not calling ambulances. There are places built for this level of density, and this house isn’t one of them.
So two years of the neighborhood doing the work that the planning department (who are crooks) and the city lawyer (who is a crook) should have done in the first place has finally paid off. The property has been declared a Public Nuisance, and has to be amended by he owner back down to nine bedrooms, which is the maximum legally allowed for the size of the lot, given that we are an R-2 residential neighborhood. So, it will eventually be fixed, no thanks to the slightly slimier elements on the council, who all abstained.
So now it is probably off to the courts.
In the meantime, it may also restrain the shady developer who is reno-devasting the two Victorians next door. He started demolition on landmarked buildings without permits, and took out a lot of irreplaceable original stuff. Le Sigh. They caught up with him and reined in the destruction a little late. He’s doing the houses for resale, and this decision, and the parallel work on tightening up the zoning regulations, will make it less likely that a similarly slimy landlord will turn them into mini-frats.
Or at least I can hope.