Ordinance to restrict noise on Greek Row

By By Trent Lowe

By Trent Lowe

The Salt Lake City Council is looking to silence the greeks.

The council voted unanimously last week to place harsher restrictions on parties and social gatherings in Salt Lake City that are too noisy or create problems for neighbors.

Chris Burbank, chief of the Salt Lake City Police Department, proposed the change to the existing city noise ordinance in response to an increasing number of complaints from neighbors throughout the city. The changes will include the police being able to levy fines to residences on the first visit, as opposed to the written warning that was the standard procedure before. Police will also be able to take civil and criminal action against repeat offenders.

“We had a lot of discussion about this,” said J.T. Martin, vice chair of the city council and representative from District 6. “We listened to a lot of people. We think that what we passed is very reasonable.”

The change comes at a cost to the U’s greek system, which is already under heat from neighbors and the U for noise complaints. Fraternities have historically been notorious for parties and noise, but have, in recent months, cracked down on noise in an attempt to appease everyone involved.

“We haven’t had any problems since August, but that certainly doesn’t make me feel any better about the situation,” said Cameron Beech, president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. “We are making guest lists now to keep uninvited people out of our parties, thus keeping the risk down.”

The SLCPD increased its patrol of Greek Row at the beginning of September and has been more aggressive in issuing special security assignments, which is a warning issued to residences that stipulates that if the police have to return within 10 days, a $420 fine will be issued. Four fraternities8212;Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Chi and Pi Kappa Alpha8212;received such warnings during the summer.

“There’s no way around it; the cops come whether they’re called or not at this point,” said Reed Nelson, president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. “We’re just basically trying to keep the windows closed, keep people inside the house. We just have to feel it out in the next couple weeks and go from there.”

Martin said the city council took the fraternities into consideration and attempted to make the situation comfortable for everyone involved.

“We felt like we were very sensible to everyone,” he said. “Everyone has the right to have a quiet neighborhood, but also the right to have parties, just as long as it’s reasonable. We all came down to the fact that Greek Row has been there for over 100 years. If you buy a house next to a fraternity, you know that noise will happen.”

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