Government Police & Fire Real Estate

Nuisance Control Ordinance Passed Unanimously by City Council Targeting Excessive Noise and Loud Parties

Boston City Council unanimously passed the Nuisance Control Ordinance in response to constituent concerns regarding excessive noise and loud parties in the city, including the North End. The ordinance includes fines ($100 first offense, $300 thereafter) when Boston Police respond to a noise complaint. Fines will be issued to property owners as well as those responsible for the noise (i.e., residents and party-goers).

The measure was proposed by District 1 City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina (D – East Boston, Charlestown, North End) in July 2012 with a public hearing and testimony in October 2012 followed by a working session in November 2012. The full City Council voted at its December 19, 2012 meeting. The Mayor is expected to sign the ordinance on Friday, December 21, 2012, according to City Hall sources.

“Residents of the City have a right to be free from excessive and unnecessary noise; and persons creating the excessive noise and disturbances as well as property owners should be held accountable for their actions,” is the premise stated in the ordinance.

North End loud parties and noise disturbances by college students and young professionals have become front page news. Residents in other downtown Boston neighborhoods and college areas such as Allston / Brighton also supported the ordinance’s effort to bring fines and accountability to those responsible for excessive noise. The ordinance covers the entire City of Boston.

Some specifics of the Nuisance Control Ordinance include:

  • If Boston Police respond to a loud party or excessive noise complaint, BPD will notify Inspectional Services Department (ISD) who will mail a notice to the property owner. If college students are involved, the university president/headmaster will be notified. Liability for the offense includes those living there, the property owner and those present (i.e., party-goers).
  • Police can issue a $100 fine on the first response or a warning if the complaint occurs before 10:00 pm.
  • On the second or subsequent response to a public nuisance complaint within a one year period, after the property owner has been mailed a warning for at least one previous violation, a $300 fine will be imposed for each incident to those persons cited (either/all residents, owners and those present).
  • In addition to typical city enforcement for the paying of fines, the ordinance references measures under the “Green Ticket” law whereby the fines are included on subsequent property tax bill. A hearing may be requested within 14 days to contest the violations.
  • Fines are enforceable regardless of whether a disturbing the peace provision is violated or whether the police officer obtains a scientific noise measurement.
  • The ordinance is effective immediately upon passage.

The full Nuisance Control Ordinance is available here in pdf.

Please note: The Nuisance Control Ordinance is separate and distinct from the Rental Inspection Ordinance also passed this week by the Boston City Council.

3 Replies to “Nuisance Control Ordinance Passed Unanimously by City Council Targeting Excessive Noise and Loud Parties

  1. I hope and pray to God this Nuisance Ordinance is
    much more effective than our Trash Ordinance.
    The Boston Police are going to play a big roll in this
    Nuisance Ordinance and I hope they don’t gig and gag
    over handing out these fines, and I hope we the residents
    have proof of these fines that are given out.

    We still have no proof of Trash Fines, and these
    slumlords must have a ton of money because they are
    always the same violators, or they are not getting fined

  2. The police should be held accountable for their execution of actually enforcing this and issuing tickets liberally. The only way it will become effective is if the issuances of fines become a greater nuisance to the offenders and property owners than the noise is to the neighborhood. The $100 amount is too low in my opinion. If a party of 25-30 people occurs, that’s only $3-4 per head — just as an example if everyone kicks in.

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