City drops plans for social host ordinance
Appeal Staff Writer
The idea to curb unruly, law-breaking tenants by creating rules that could penalize Carson City property owners won’t be pursued – much to the relief of local real estate professionals.
“It was unrealistic,” said Steven Veatch, president of Valley Realty, about the original proposal.
People in real estate were unhappy with the concept of a “red tag” being attached to a home after people living in it were cited because it would stigmatize the property when they tried to resell it.
They were also concerned about the lack of an appeal process to have a red tag removed, and making real estate agents and property managers “responsible for the criminal activity of others,” said Sara Ellis, government affairs director of Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors.
“By the time everyone had their say, it was whittled down to nothing,” said District Attorney Neil Rombardo. “We’ve decided to just enforce the laws already on the books.”
City supervisors will hear details about what is planned instead during their meeting Thursday.
Title 8 of the city’s municipal code focuses on public peace, safety and morals. Sections 8.08 and 8.09 center on nuisance regulations and would adequately cover these situations, he said.
“We can make the current codes stronger if we need to,” Rombardo said.
Some state and federal regulations also exist that would help alleviate these situations, “but we just need to enforce them,” he said.
The plan to create a Social Host Liability Ordinance was introduced last November. The goal was to create an ordinance that curbs unlawful activities and neighborhood nuisances, not “to make everyone happy,” Mayor Marv Teixeira said at the time.
Teixeira, who is active in Partnership Carson City, the anti-meth coalition, is among community members who worked on the draft ordinance for months. It was modeled after laws enacted around the country to deter repeated out-of-control gatherings at residences where underage drinking and use of illegal drugs occurs.
Now, however, “I think they’ve come up with something they’re all comfortable with,” Teixeira said Tuesday about the decision that followed a meeting of a group composed of city officials, law enforcement, anti-drug interests and real estate professionals.
The district attorney “feels he can do it without creating another document.”
The first violation would have resulted in the property owner or manager having to pay a fine of $250. The second violation would have cost $500, and third and subsequent violations $1,000 each.
Along with the fine, cost of emergency response to the scene by law enforcement, fire or ambulance – if required for at least the second time within a year – also was to be levied.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
If you go
WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday
WHERE: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St.