Party ordinance to get second look
Appeal Staff Writer
A number of real estate professionals Thursday protested the city’s proposed ordinance that would hold property owners responsible for illegal activities of residents.
Most-often cited by opponents was the provision for red-tagging a residence after emergency responders are called.
While the overall intent of the ordinance was sound, the tag could “stigmatize the properties,” and make them more difficult to sell or rent once the occupants who hosted the offending parties are gone, said Steven Lincoln, a real estate agent.
The Carson City Board of Supervisors opted to revise the wording of the Social Host Liability Ordinance, which would penalize property owners for illegal activities that occur during loud parties at their dwellings.
District Attorney Noel Waters emphasized that the tag isn’t meant to serve as a “scarlet letter,” but as an important part of the notification process. City records might not have up-to-date information about a property owner, for example, he said.
“The house isn’t doing drugs,” said Sara Ellis, the government affairs director of Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors.
Another concern: Bad tenants with nothing to lose holding party after party and accumulating red tags – especially if eviction proceedings against the tenant are underway. This would unfairly penalize the owner or manager trying to do their job, some of the business people also said.
Real estate comprises an “important segment of our economy,” said Supervisor Shelly Aldean, who would like to see the ordinance address some of the business people’s arguments.
Mayor Marv Teixeira said he was worried extensive re-writing would water down the ordinance by “trying to please the exception rather than the rule.”
The goal is to create an ordinance that curbs unlawful activities and neighborhood nuisances, not “to make everyone happy,” he said.
Teixeira, who is active in Partnership Carson City, the anti-methamphetamine coalition, is among community members who’ve worked on the ordinance for months, he said. It’s modeled after similar laws enacted around the country as a way to deter repeated out-of-control gatherings at residences where underage drinking and any use of illegal drugs occurs.
The first violation would result in the property owner or manager having to pay a fine of $250. The second violation would cost $500, and the third and subsequent violations would cost $1,000 each.
Along with the fine would be the added cost of emergency response to the scene by law enforcement, fire or ambulance if it’s required for at least the second time within a year.
The ordinance will be back for possible approval by the supervisors in December or January, after real estate professionals work with the district attorney to address some of their concerns.
A second supervisors approval would be required because it’s an ordinance, and this would occur during a subsequent meeting.
In other business, the supervisors:
• Approved freeway construction-related issues, such as an agreement with the state that spells out which responsibilities fall to whom, and details about moving utility lines in some areas to allow construction of the project.
• Accepted grants for water system improvements related to the Waterfall fire damage and for creation of an aquifer storage and recovery system.
• Named Leanndra Jones to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.