At the April 15 Kalamazoo City Commission meeting, the commission unanimously passed an amendment to Chapter 21 of the city ordinance dealing with nuisance parties. As part of the new ordinance, partygoers can face a fine up to $500 and 90 days in jail.
The proposal to amend Chapter 21 in the Kalamazoo city ordinance which includes how to deal with nuisance parties was brought up to the Kalamazoo City Commission in September 2018. Assistant City Attorney Richard Cherry said the proposal got put aside due to more important things and per protocol was reintroduced this month.
“For ordinances that are introduced you have a first reading and its introduced to the city commission and then you have a second reading where they will vote to adopt the ordinance,” Cherry said. “The first reading happened in September of last year, before it got to the second reading we were busy with other matters so it was postponed and reintroduced this past meeting (April 1).”
The ordinance describes a nuisance party as a social gathering held on public or private property which results in illegal consumption or selling of alcohol, urination on the property or in view of another person, illegal littering or trash, destruction of property, unlawful traffic and parking on a public street, alley or sidewalk, unreasonable loud noise, conduct that injures someone or endangers someone in the area, the unlawful use of a controlled substance and the display of graphic sexual behavior.
While parties can get out of hand sometimes, they don’t always get as out of hand as previous House Crawl events have. House Crawl is the annual party put on every year to celebrate spring and friendships made over the course of the year. While these parties have gotten out of hand in the past, Cherry said this ordinance does not revolve around House Crawl.
“It has really no connection to the House Crawl, it was more pointed at our X-train (roaming parties) that were trying to introduce the nuisance for,” Cherry said. “This is not something we created from scratch, Big Rapids has a similar ordinance and their ordinance is more specific to large parties.”
Some Kalamazoo residents believe the City Commission hasn't done a good job dealing with the X-train. To respond to this issue, the nuisance ordinance was created.
“One of the City Commissions concern with the X-train and the citizens is that the City hasn’t addressed that issue, the City was trying to implement an ordinance to address the x-train so that’s why we came up with this nuisance party,” Cherry said. “In addition, I guess it could be used for very large out of control parties. One of the issues since I have been here is that KDPS has used noise violation tickets for out of control parties.”
According to Cherry, noise violations are increased during the school year and disturbing the peace increases during the year particularly in warmer weather. Under the new ordinance a noise violation will be a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor and would impose a fine of up to $250
Cherry said the law is not specifically directed toward students and the City was not told to deal with WMU parties. He also said that things such as the x-train are nothing new. The new ordinance would take effect on April 25.