Anti-party ordinance generates $26K in fines

Newport Beach residents may have noticed more restrained New Year’s celebrations, thanks to the relatively new Loud and Unruly Gathering ordinance.

To date, $26,166.66 has been collected from citations issued under the ordinance, which affected 25 homes in 2011, according to the city.

So far, 55 tickets have been issued to a tenant, responsible party or landlord. Of those, 23 have been paid in full, four were voided, one is on a payment plan, and 15 are awaiting payment or in collections.

For the remaining 12, landlords took corrective or abatement action, like eviction, and had their citations dismissed.

Police Chief Jay Johnson said the public’s reaction has been largely positive. He called the ordinance a move in the right direction toward a family-friendly atmosphere citywide.

“This ordinance was actually generated as a result of the community being so vocal about the unruly parties that were having a negative impact on their quality of life in Newport Beach,” Johnson wrote in an email. “Obviously those receiving citations were not too pleased, but I have heard a great deal of support for this ordinance coming from the community.

“There were a small few who were understandably skeptical at first, not knowing how the enforcement part would work and concerned the police would have too much power and be too heavy handed. I think we have shown that should not be a concern.”

Lt. Jeff Brouwer said he also has heard positive reaction from community members.

"… I have been to several community meetings where citizens have expressed that this was one of the quietest summers they have experienced in the past several years,” Brouwer wrote in an email.

In May the City Council passed the ordinance after a 5-2 vote in time for Fourth of July, a time that draws crowds from across Southern California to the Balboa Peninsula and West Newport areas known for their rowdy party culture.

“I certainly won’t want to get one myself, but if you’re engaging in that type of activity, you have to expect there will be some kind of consequences,” Councilman Steve Rosansky said. “You couldn’t just behave in any manner you wanted. You have to be respectful of neighbors.”

Penalties begin with a $500 fine issued to the responsible party, and a notice to the tenant and owner. Repeated violations are increased up to $3,000 for the fourth violation.

No one has received a fourth violation yet, according to police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.

A black and white notice is also posted at the residence, and must remain up for 90 days.

Money from the ordinance goes into the city’s general fund.

The ordinance allows the city to take action against tenants, those responsible in the disruption and the landlord, although landlords can be relieved of the ticket if they take corrective action, according to city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.

Twitter: @lawilliams30