The City Council is working to crack down on neighborhood residences with chronic noise/disorderly issues in Salem.
At a committee meeting on Ordinances, Licenses & Legal Affairs and later during the regular City Council meeting Thursday, councilors discussed the creation of a disorderly house ordinance.
The council made a first passage of the disorderly house ordinance, which calls for fines of up to $300 for repeat violators.
The issues of noise and disorderly households was brought to the council's attention by Sgt. Harry Rocheville of the Community Impact Unit.
In a letter addressed to Mike Sosnowki, chairman of the committee, Rocheville recommended increases in fines to the city's noise ordinance and enforcement tools for disorderly homes.
According to the draft of the ordinance, a disorderly residence is "any building, or part thereof, which the police department has identified as a disorderly house after having responded to multiple calls for service to the property" for activities that "have a tendency to unreasonably disturb the community and affect the quality of life of the neighborhood."
The draft references "loud music, boisterous parties," loud noise or fights and intoxicated people in pubic ways as qualifiers for a disorderly designation.
Councilor-at-Large Arthur Sargent expressed concern that some landlords who have good intentions to "make things right," could be negatively affected by the ordinance.
Other councilors assured him that the Salem Police would use discretion.
Ward 5 Councilor Josh Turiel said there are some homes in the city that have been "long-standing" issues. Turiel said he hopes "one thing the ordinance will hopefully do is motivate landlords" to rectify a situation. Oftentimes, landlords have continuously paid modest fines instead of getting to the root of the issues, Turiel explained.
The ordinance wouldn't just target college houses. Sosnowski said the ordinance could also impact sober houses. The city is working on regulations for rooming/lodging houses .
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