Control your party noise; report overcrowded housing
By DEENA BESS SHERMAN email@example.com May 30, 2012 9:50PM
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:52AM
Memorial Day is the traditional start of the summer party season, which means fun for most, but headaches for some. When the weather is nice, windows are open, letting neighbors hear one another’s parties with far greater clarity, and potentially igniting summer-long feuds.
Some of us are blessed with good neighborhood relationships and can communicate directly about problems before they get out of hand. Terre Tresky-Triscila, of Aurora, said, “We have been very lucky with our immediate neighbors. We help each other out and if there is a problem, like noise at night, we talk with each other and work it out.”
Most people truly want to be good neighbors, but have an occasional loud party. For our twins’ graduation we hired a live band for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. That’s when I learned that one needs a permit for a live band and that not all of our neighbors enjoyed loud Beatles and Ramones covers as much as we did.
If your usually quiet neighbor has a single loud party, I recommend stopping by for a cold beverage rather than calling the police. Unfortunately for some, though, the problem is year-round and frequent. One Aurora couple has been trying to enjoy retirement, but have trouble with neighbors blocking their driveway, driving over their lawn and often playing loud music.
“I wanted to be the nice neighbor so I walked over and asked if they would turn down the music,” said the husband. “But the guy went over and turned it up louder and told me to go call the police!”
When he called the city about the 10 cars he counted at one house, he was told residents could work on as many cars as they wish at a single residence. Then he noticed that on some days, every single car would be gone during the day and back later, suggesting to him that at least 10 people — who were old enough to drive — were living in that home.
Violations in occupancy standards are often at the root of noise and parking issues. So I called the Aurora Planning and Zoning Department and was referred to city spokesperson, Kevin Stahr. I asked Stahr how many violations of our occupancy standards were reported. He said in 2011 there were 148 overcrowding complaints; so far this year there have been 39.
I then asked what steps the city takes once a violation is reported and he explained that following a report: “We monitor the property and collect data on the number of cars parked at the address. We check for unusual water usage. We make contact with the property owners, informing them that we received a complaint for overcrowding and ask preliminary questions on the number of occupants living in the home, and if warranted ask permission to conduct a physical inspection of the property. Based on information gathered, we determine if occupancy limits have exceeded HUD guidelines.”
Aurora’s guidelines can be found at www.aurora-il.org/operations/property_standards/occupancy_standards.php.
What can Aurorans do when they suspect ongoing violations? Stahr said to take note of the number of occupants and whether they are children or adults. Notice the number of cars and the time of day when the majority of occupants are at the property. Then report suspected overcrowding to the city’s customer service center at 630-256-INFO.
Overcrowding hurts everyone. It lowers property values and can put extra pressure on the school systems when the city’s occupancy standards are violated.
May you be blessed with neighbors who — at least on most days — share the desire for a peace, quiet, and order. If you are not, and problems persist, let the city and the police help. And if you’re planning a big, noisy party, get a permit for live bands and be sure to invite all your neighbors. I know I sure will.