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In June, Council President Jim Sands appointed a task force to look at the issue of “Fests” and develop recommendations to address the unsafe conditions and unlawful behavior exhibited at “fest” events. The task force met throughout the summer to conduct its work. As a result of the conversations, it was apparent that the safety issues and unlawful activity present at “fest” events are issues that are also present at individual house parties. While continuing to explore the possibilities of new ordinances to address unsafe and uncivil conduct at “fests”, the task force recommends in the interim that the unlawful behavior at individual house parties be addressed through existing laws. The City of Athens already has the “nuisance party” ordinance (A.C.C. 9.14.01) as existing law. The task force recommends, in an effort to improve safety and curtail unlawful activity at all house parties, that the Police Department continue the stringent enforcement of this ordinance that began after the Palmer Street event last spring. Enforcement of the ordinance should be based on a single violation versus the multiple violations tolerated in the past. The task force also recommends tasking the joint patrol with focusing on nuisance parties. This enforcement policy should provide consistency on a daily basis as to what is expected from community members who host and attend parties and should positively impact conduct exhibited at “fests.” It will continue to be incumbent on those who wish to host a party that they adhere to their duty of controlling their premise, and it will be incumbent on those attending a party that their conduct remains lawful. Again, the purpose in this recommendation is to enhance the safety of our community and prevent unlawful activity by establishing a threshold and standard of acceptable behavior that already exists in current city ordinance.The task force will continue to meet to evaluate the effectiveness of these recommendations and will continue to explore other options to improve safety and civility in our community.I have been appointed as the PIO for the Task Force to field questions about this press release. Council President Jim Sands will also field media inquiries for this issue on behalf of council.The “Nuisance Party” law can be found at the following link http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=14702
Thomas D. Pyle II, CLEEChief of PoliceFBI-NA 214
City of Athens Police Department11 North College Street, Athens, Ohio 45701PH:740-592-3315 FX:740-592-3358