Nuisance parties could face shutdown

By Crystal Kang

The Urbana City Council moved forward Monday night on an ordinance lending more police jurisdiction over nuisance parties.

Assistant Urbana City Attorney Curt Borman said the ordinance will allow police officers to take direct action against the party host and shut down parties that become loud and unruly to the point where the peace is disrupted.

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If there is reason to believe fights, alcohol abuse, assaults, battery or public urination were involved in parties, the police would have to take control.

Ward 4 Council member Brandon Bowersox suggested including the littering of beer bottles or cups on private property as one category that would be considered a nuisance.

“Littering can become a problem if 100 people threw bottles into someone else’s yard,” said Urbana City Attorney Ron O’Neal.

However, O’Neal said it would be difficult for police officers to enforce the littering policy based on how many bottles contributed to creating a nuisance because there is no way to draw the line.

“Is it a single bottle? Ten bottles? A hundred bottles?” O’Neal said.

Borman said that this ordinance does not specify the littering policy because he wants to give the police a tool that addresses more severe issues, which could include property damage.

“If the judge had to decide whether (cases) are nuisances, any judge would be outraged to find people involved in destruction of property,” Borman said. “I wanted to make (the ordinance) compact and concentrate on the largest and physical problems.

This amendment was called to the attention of the Council because of the excessive complaints from the Urbana residents that party hosts are inadequate supervisors.

“We deal with parties every weekend,” said Urbana Chief of Police Michael Bily. “This ordinance would be for large out-of-control parties that would contain most of the items on this list.”