Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Select Board serious about student parties

Perhaps this weekend and the particularly outrageous late night party at 83 Morgan Circle was a tipping point, as last night Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe threw down the gauntlet saying in effect "enough is enough" and backing it up with budget recommendations: overtime for police and fire and a new position in Housing Inspections and code enforcement. Can you just imagine the violations a health inspector would have uncovered in that "single family" house packed with over 500 alcohol fueled party goers? video

Foxborough gets tough on public drinking (although not as tough as Amherst)

UMass SGA candidate arrested for noise violation

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the students.

Hate the noise and the vandalism.

Lincoln ave puker said...

I don't think you can clamp down on health violations in a private residence. as long as minors are not involved I can Cleveland steamer my living room rug and you can't say anything.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the neighbors just sue the landlords for nuisance? It's a tort (or personal injury) to interfere with a person's quiet enjoyment of their property. Personal injury lawyers work for free and just split the damages award with the plaintiffs. If the propery owners around the university and party houses started launching some lawsuits against landlords and tenants, there will be very quick changes.

Anonymous said...

Um, because being incovenienced by one party does not a million dollar settlement make.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be a million dollar settlement. A $20K award would get a landlord's or tenant's attention, no? The point is, If you live next door to tenants creating a nuisance, the law provides a remedy.

Anonymous said...

"Your Honor, I would like 20 thousand dollars because I couldn't sleep last night."

"That sounds quite large, what do you base that damages figure on?"

"It's really just a fraction of the million dollar idea I was planning to dream about."

LarryK4 said...

If you were paying attention smartass, you would know this is the 5th time these irresponsible Nitwits at 83 Morgan Circle have been cited for disrupting the peace and quiet anyone is entitled to.

And for all we know, that is where YOU reside.

Anonymous said...

I love the "can't do" spirit from the Eeyores on this blog.

Ed said...

Larry -- I really want you to answer this -- exactly why are people going after the students and not the slumlords who own the places? If the town has problems with the same address year after year (notwithstanding different people residing there) then it clearly isn't the same students.

What is the constant: the person who owns the place and rents it to them -- who wouldn't be getting the rental rate he/she/it enjoys for a property in such terrible condition were it not for the fact that the town turns a blind eye toward (a) the number of people living there and (b) the s**tty condition of the place.

Why can't we do what North Adams does -- before you can rent an apartment in this town, you have to have it inspected by the BOH and have it comply with 105CMR410. And we charge the landlord $25/$50 for this -- which will be passed onto the tenant -- but we go back to holding the landlords responsible for their properties.

Likewise, all the fines should be assessed against the property and not this bogus quasi-criminal stuff happening now. The tenants will still pay, but the LANDLORD will be on the hook to collect it and that will get them to pay a whole lot more attention to what is going on.

Larry, why are you giving the people who own these properties a pass to instead go after the students living there? Who *really* is responsible when this stuff happens year-after-year????

Anonymous said...

Good question Ed. Here's another one for you. Why are YOU so quick to absolve UMASS students from responsibility for being even minimally decent citizens while residing in our community? Sure, UMASS and its student population provide an economic engine that we couldn't afford to live without. But does that in and of itself excuse the young people who call Amherst their home for the time they're here from following rules of basic human decency? If so, what's the message in that for them or the town?

LarryK4 said...

Actually I'm not.

If I had my way I'd send a bill to the owner/landlord for the public safety response cost for every incident (after fair warning).

The Nuisance House bylaw does allow for a $300 fine levied against the property owner, but only after three "nuisance house" tickets have been issued to their irresponsible Nitwit tenants.

And you cannot mix-and-match with "noise bylaw" or "unlicensed keg," otherwise the owners of 83 Morgan Circle would be getting just such a fine by now.

The town tried to have apartment license rental registration (with a token $10 or so annual charge per unit, which of course ads up if you are a large complex) to finance an inspector who would actually ensure the apartments were habitable, but it met with resistance from independent minded property rental owners.

Anonymous said...

Seriously -- if anyone really wants to put an END to this problem, it is going to involve the licensing of landlords and people loosing their ability to rent properties.

It is like preventing fires -- there is an unlimited supply of oxygen, quite a few ignition sources, so you go for restricting the fuel. The town regulates the storage of highly flammible things like gasoline -- and thus fires are prevented.

There is an unlimited supply of students, there is an unlimited number of things that could ignite a party, and thus the only thing you can actually *control* is the properties themselves.

You want to stop these things -- you address it from the PROPERTY and not the people currently in it.

And the way you do it is through code enforcement and pre-rental licensing. And being obnoxious to the slumlords who usually are professors who bought these places in the '70's & '80's and now consider them to be cash cows -- demanding that Lincoln, Eagle Crest or Kamins send them a check each month without deducting anything for maintenance.

If there actually ever was an interest in dealing with this -- it could be done but you would have to offend real people and not just "students."

LarryK4 said...

Yep.

Simply up the "cost of doing business."

Ed said...

... students from responsibility for being even minimally decent citizens while residing in our community?

This is the problem: "our" town and not the town of the students' as well. In other words, the uppity n*ggers aren't behaving themselves by staying in their place.....

...excuse the young people who call Amherst their home

And they *don't* call it *their* home because you don't welcome them. From the get-go it is "be a good n*gger, sit in the back of the bus" and you are now getting upper-middle class kids from out of state who aren't used to being treated like that and after a few beers are rather p*ssed about it.

Anyone remember the race riots of the late 1960's? Or why they happened????

Folks, you are really close to some really bad problems and you can either continue to blindly sail toward destruction or you can address them. And the latter means that you have to start considering the students (including those different from you) as human beings and not n*ggers....

LarryK4 said...

I really don't like THAT word. Even in (slightly) disguised form.

Anonymous said...

I still think that there are a number of people at the University who think exactly as one of their administrators expressed it publicly a few years ago:

"What did you expect when you bought property near the University?"

In other words, let the buyer beware: location, location, location.

It's not right but that seems to be the attitude. The noise is the price we have to pay for having students here. And if we don't like it, our only true recourse is to leave.

I still think that if the University were inside of 495, this wouldn't be happening to this degree. But out here in Podunk, we are out of sight and out of mind. Just a place in the sticks that can be trashed with impunity.

Ms. O'Keeffe is correct: the chief problem with young people interfering so frequently with the quiet enjoyment of the homes of permanent residents is that it undermines the entire development discussion in town. It's why zoning is such a hot button issue here. And nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.

LarryK4 said...

Until now.

Anonymous said...

This is a question of personal responsibility ONLY.

To say that a landlord is somehow to blame for student behavior is unjust.

The town has all the tools it needs to penalize bad actors. I have lived in town for 38 years and the behavior is only getting worse. I don't recall so many cases of students resisting arrest and ASSAULTING police officers. I was a student at UMASS in the early 80's and went to plenty of big parties, but when the police showed up to disperse the party, by god, you dispersed!

The attitude of total impunity that many students show these days is new, and really doesn't come from living in a house that needs some repairs.

Anonymous said...

To Ed @6:49 3/8:

Not to presume to speak for Larry, but you would need to know over how many years those 5 noise violations occurred at 83 Morgan Circle. Even if it's over a span of, say, 8 years, you'd also have to know the number of years the same students have lived there. In this case, familiarity could breed noise. Students know where then can live if they want to get loud - beyond Hobart. If word got around that 83 Morgan Circle was a party-friendly place, then who do you figure is going to want to live there year after year? Like so many other things in this town, there are rules in place for dealing with this issue. It's just that the powers that be are only now having to face the problems. Time will tell if they simply kick the can down the road.

Anonymous said...

The absolute disgrace (OK, one out of many) that the SGA representative voted out got drunk at the official UMASS grad center bar. UMass should not be running a bar. I dont care what you call it, the school should not be running a bar.

Ed said...

I dont care what you call it, the school should not be running a bar.

This is so ignorant that it is beyond contempt. Do you honestly think that the fascists running UMass would ever consider letting the students run a bar?

A decade ago, they had three resturaunts with liquor (beer only) licenses -- the Hatch, the Bluewall and the "Top of the Campus" -- they now have ONE -- the alleged Grad Lounge which is where all the underaged undergrads go because grad students don't feel welcome. OK, some enforcement is necessary.

But it is the ADMIN that is running that place and not the students. Don't ever forget that...

Anonymous said...

Ed,
Still not getting why you want to absolve students of their responsibility. We're not talking about an unusually high threshold for behavior here. Nor are we talking about a different threshold for behavior for students than for any other resident. Any of us would and should get prosecuted for the kind of nuisance behaviors we're talking about here. It's just not a civil or acceptable standard of behavior.

Anonymous said...

Ed,

Yes the Admin runs the bar, and they clearly overserved this kid. As evidenced and reported in the Daily Collegian.

I submit that Umass should close the facility. They have shown they can not run it properlty.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, student partying seemed less impactful on town and neighborhoods back in the seventies when the drinking age was 18. Parties happened on campus, rather than off and as Ed states, there were bars on campus that offered musical entertainment. Keg parties in dorms occurred regularly as well. Once students had to take their partying "underground" they moved to off campus locations where regular town folks were affected. People partied pretty hearty back then, but I don't remember as much binge drinking. There wasn't as much urgency about "getting it while you can" because there wasn't a problem getting it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The 21YO age has been a disaster. Drinking has just gone underground, with absolutely no adult supervisions.

A girl gets raped at a bar, its national news. A girl gets raped at a frat party, its campus news, and the frat gets closed. A girl gets raped at a house party, it gets swept under the rug. Its wrong. And yet the leaders of MADD get huge salaries while young adults and college communities suffer.

Say all you want about how bad capitalism is, but adult, mature OWNERS of bars are incentivized to stop the worst from happening. Not the same with some kid renting a house.

Its time to admit the 21Year rule on drinking was a mistake. Of course we want DUI enforced. Of course we want noise rules enforced. But these are like putting a bandaid on a broken leg. We must address the basic problem

Over 100 college presidents have joined the Ameysth initiative to have the drinking age lowered. I urge everyone to support this.