Scottsdale Considering Nuisance Party Ordinance

Published: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 4:36pm
Updated: Monday, August 5, 2019 - 12:38pm
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Nuisance parties — those loud, all-night affairs that clog residential streets and disturb the peace — are a drain on police resources and bad for neighborhoods, said Scottsdale Neighborhood Services Director Raun Keagy.

That’s why the city is considering a nuisance party ordinance, which would penalize homeowners for parties and gatherings that violate noise rules, block traffic and otherwise disturb the peace.

The new ordinance would apply to all residential property in Scottsdale, including short-term rentals, long-term rentals and owner-occupied properties.

Under the current law, Scottsdale police usually respond to a party and ask the hosts to turn the music down or tell crowds to disperse. In extreme cases, officers can issue a criminal citation for disturbing the peace, but it’s a complicated and time-consuming process. For a criminal prosecution to go forward, there has to be a victim. “Someone [has to] be willing to testify that their peace was disturbed,” said Keagy.

The new ordinance makes it a civil offense, similar to a traffic violation, and would include service fees instead of criminal fines. “If the police have to come out to your property multiple times for the same problem, then we start assessing a service fee to the property owner themselves,” Keagy said.

By allowing officers to issue civil violations, Keagy says police can focus their energy on filling law enforcement needs. 

“Respond[ing] to these things on a regular basis can be a drain on personnel and resources, and it could, in some cases, leave other areas of the city with minimal levels of police,” Keagy said. 

Fees assessed under this ordinance include a $250 penalty for a first offense, $1,000 penalty for a second offense, and $1,500 for third and subsequent offenses.

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