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Party ordinance hearing postponed

Sam Davis | Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The South Bend Common Council has postponed discussion of a proposed ordinance that would require off-campus students to register any large gathering with the city at least 10 days in advance.

The ordinance, which was proposed earlier this summer, would apply to occupants of “boarding houses” – residences with two or more unrelated persons – hosting gatherings with 25 or more guests.

“The City has found that the control of large parties, gatherings or events on private property, particularly when the individuals have access to alcohol, is necessary in order to protect the quality of life in a neighborhood,” reads a proposed amendment to the ordinance. “Frequently, police officers have been dispatched to such locations resulting in a drain of manpower and resources for the rest of the city.”

The Council had planned the third public hearing for the ordinance on Aug. 13, but moved the discussion to a special meeting on Aug. 20. Council President Tim Rouse, a co-sponsor of the bill, notified city officials of the change last week.

In practice, this ordinance would apply primarily to student housing, Council member Ann Puzzello said Friday.

In its original form, the bill called for permits for any gatherings of 10 or more nonresidents.

Student body president Liz Brown met Friday with Mayor Steven Luecke, Rouse and Council member Buddy Kirsits, the bill’s other sponsor.

“This doesn’t mean for sure that it will be discussed [on Aug. 20],” Brown said in a voicemail Friday night. “But it does mean there will be more dialogue between myself and council members next week.”

In an e-mail to students Friday, Brown said she will meet with council members to discuss alternatives to the ordinance.