House party ordinance weighed for Tampa

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Residents near the University of Tampa are fed up with loud parties and drunk neighbors. That prompted Tampa City Council to consider increasing penalties for certain types of house parties.

Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman weighed in during public comment Thursday. She worries that ordinance might be going too far because it describes an illegal house party as having more than three friends over at a time.

“If underage drinking is the issue, let’s address that. If noise is an issue that’s over the top after 11 (p.m.), let’s address that. But the language seems to be a little too broad in order to be able to address the concerns that the residents that brought this forward to you would like to have addressed.”

Council members looked at a Winter Park ordinance that holds property owners financially responsible for rule-breaking parties. City Council member Mike Suarez told city attorney Rebecca Kurt he is also concerned about the language.

“My father’s birthday was two weeks ago. I already broke that part of the ordinance. There were a lot of people at the party. Now, it wasn’t a loud party. At least I don’t think it was. But do you think we could write an ordinance that is somewhat similar, but not as extensive in terms of that particular section of the ordinance.”

“I think we can, but I would also call to your intention that in Winter Park, it’s not just having a gathering that is loud and boisterous. It’s the underage drinking and/or drug use by minors that makes it an illegal house party. So, unless you were having minors at your party imbibing illegally, you’re party would have been OK.”

The Winter Park ordinance levies a $1,000 fine for house party violators. The specifics of a Tampa ordinance will be considered during a meeting on July 21.