5/4/2021 0 Comments
May 4, 2021 - Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn is calling for a hearing with Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty at this week’s City Council meeting to discuss increasing fines for large house parties, and ways to better enforce rules regarding house parties and indoor gatherings. There have been concerning reports of large house parties in South Boston that are disruptive to the neighborhood. Residents have highlighted noise and trash removal issues as negatively impacting the quality of life for our residents. This hearing order aims to discuss the possibility of substantially increasing the fines for large house parties, so that the city can ensure that public health and noise regulations are followed.
Neighbors have reported large house parties of 30-40 people hosted by renters with absentee landlords. Even as more people are getting vaccinated, large house parties are concerning not only because of their potential to become superspreader events, but also due to their noise and impact on the quality of life for our residents. These partiers often disturb neighbors with loud noises at all hours of the day, and leave behind trash and litter on the street, attracting rodents and pests. In Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Order #63, it stated that no private gatherings be more than 10 persons in a single enclosed, indoor space, and failure to comply may result in a civil fine of up to $500 per violation.
However, despite the Governor’s order and public health guidance, there are many reports of large house parties all over the city, with 600 911 calls in one weekend alone in South Boston. Residents are to report large house parties to the Boston Police Department at 911, which can trigger the Inspectional Services Department’s Investigation & Enforcement team to review the properties, potentially place them on the city’s Problem Properties List and issue a $500 fine, with the owner of the property required to address these violations. As we continue to hear these reports of house parties, we need to talk about stricter enforcement of the Governor’s order and further mechanisms to disincentivize people from having large parties, including substantially increasing the fines on repeat offenders. Aside from issuing fines for violating the Governor’s COVID-19 orders, the City of Boston should also look to issue increased fines, perhaps starting at $1000 for a first offense, and explore $2000 for a second offense, and $3000 for a third offense for those that violate the city’s noise ordinance.
"These out of control parties have been a burden on the South Boston community for too long,” said Councilor Flaherty. “We have tried to control them with the tools currently available to us, but these landlords and their tenants are not getting the message. We have no choice but to increase these penalties if we stand any chance of improving the quality of life for our residents.”
“I’ve heard from many concerned residents about the number of large house parties in our neighborhood and across the city. This creates not only a potential public health issue in the pandemic, but also a quality of life issue with noise and trash debris impacting their neighbors - including our seniors, children, persons with disabilities,” said Councilor Flynn. “It is critical that we address this issue to maintain the public health and the quality of life for our residents. We should look to potentially increase the fines for those who violate state and city regulations, so that we ensure that everyone abides by the rules and regulations that help keep our neighborhoods healthy and clean. Thank you to Councilor Flaherty for his partnership, and I look forward to working with the Boston Police, ISD, public health officials, neighbors, and other stakeholders on this issue.”
For more information, please contact Councilor Flaherty’s office at 617-635-4205 or Michael.Flaherty@Boston.gov