The City Council this week approved a new law aimed at curbing noisy parties.
The law, which establishes "quiet hours" of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., will require hosts to pay for police services if the Police Department is called to break up a party. City officials said the ordinance will help offset police costs and provide officers with an additional tool to persuade neighbors to hold down the noise.
The new ordinance was prepared "to address the problems caused by inconsiderate and ill-mannered residents who host parties which disturb the peace and quiet of their fellow neighbors," said Luis A. Rodriguez, the city's senior assistant attorney.
Under the law, officers who respond to complaints of loud parties will first issue a warning to the host. If police are called back to the scene within 12 hours and an officer determines that the party constitutes "a threat to public peace, health, safety or general welfare," the party may be shut down, and the host will be charged for police time.
Rodriguez said the fines would be determined according to the amount of police service needed but would begin with a "minimum of a couple hundred dollars."
The ordinance also makes it necessary to obtain a business-tax license before charging admission to a party. Fund-raising events sponsored by nonprofit organizations, charities and religious and political organizations are exempt. The law takes effect March 21.