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Davis

Davis, California

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

City-UC Davis student liaison commission proposes changes to noise ordinances

At the last City of Davis-UC Davis student liaison commission meeting on Nov. 9, the commission submitted a proposal to change the current noise ordinance policy. The commission will reconvene again on Dec. 14 to discuss the matter further.

Currently, the permit process requires people to apply for a party permit 16 days in advance, which the commission would like to change to seven days.

The commission would also like to change the radius of neighbors that party-throwers have to notify from 200 to 150 yards, and would like to reduce the time ahead neighbors would have to be notified from 12 to five days.

“This allows people to get a permit in a shorter time while still notifying neighbors,” said Stacy Winton, a staff liaison from the City Manager’s office.

They would also like to change the decibels of sound that parties can produce from 80 to 85.

Adam Thongsavat, ASUCD president and chairperson of the commission, said that the noise ordinances have been one of his platforms as president.

The proposal has since undergone several drafts.

“The first draft included a grace period,” Thongsavat said. “If police come to your door, you’d be given a 10-minute grace period to break up the party and avoid a ticket. This turned out to not be feasible because of the number of calls police receive.”

Thongsavat said he is still happy with the drafted proposal.

“What we have come up with is very moderate,” Thongsavat said. “Students are more than willing to be flexible. It’s not a fight, it’s really tame.”

Thongsavat encourages students to come forward and engage in the discussion.

“This is a controversial topic in the community because it’s a very polarizing issue,” said Davis City Councilmember Sue Greenwald. “Essentially, if we go through the process, we’ll have to have community input. It’s a fairly substantial process.”

“This will open up other enforcement issues. You don’t know what’s going to come out. If ASUCD can come in with suggestions, than anyone can, including neighbors,” Greenwald said.

“Whichever side of the fence you sit on, people have very strong opinions about this issue,” said Deputy City Manager Kelly Stachowitz.

“The proposed changes make it easier for people to throw parties on paper, but it doesn’t deal with the problem of holding students accountable,” said Steven Lee, former chair of the ASUCD External Affairs Commission and ASUCD’s former representative to the student liaison commission. “My problem is that students don’t usually give any notification at all. If they want to have lower restrictions, then students have to comply.”

“During my time as a student, it was important to me to improve relations between students and neighbors. This effort seems to undermine that,” Lee said.

Broader community discussion will be required for the proposal to move forward.

“Public changes to our city code done through an ordinance require a public hearing and at least two readings for administration,” Stachowitz said.

EINAT GILBOA can be reached city@theaggie.org.

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