Four Muskingum University students approached New Concord Village Council about the village noise and litter ordinances.
Senior Antonio Meehan, junior Nicholas Despot, senior Dustn Bennett, and junior Kayla Maze brought their concerns about the sudden enforcement of those laws at the Feb. 13 monthly council meeting.
Despot said their purpose for attending the meeting was to “figure out what the curfew was about on weekends.”
New Concord Ordinance No. B-4-95-1 was passed and approved on April 10, 1995 and states a noise disturbance is defined as “any sound that annoys or disturbs a reasonable person(s) with normal sensitives or that injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, hearing, peace, or safety of another person(s).”
According to section two of that same ordinance the purpose is to lower the amount of “excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noises” in the village.
The ordinance leaves the New Concord Police Department in charge of enforcing the laws and perform “any and all acts permitted by law that are necessary for the successful enforcement of these regulations.”
In a residential area, the “hours of restriction” are between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and “not before 9 a.m. on Sunday.”
Meehan specifically said he didn’t agree with the restriction time and “found it to be a bit outlandish.”
According to New Concord Mayor Brett Essex. council expects all village residents to comply with all village ordinances.
“We take that ordinance pretty serious and would ask the neighborhood to comply with it and then what also kind of ties in with that noise is a litter that we have,” said Essex.
Maze, an off-campus resident, said none of the people living in her house, or the surrounding houses knew about the curfew and that they once were ticketed as early as nine in the morning.
“My landlord didn’t know about the curfew, none of my housemates, none of my neighbors knew about this curfew and we still got a ticket,” said Maze.
Village Council member Jennifer Lyle said everyone living within village limits are treated equally under the law.
“When you live in the village, anyone who lives in the village in a home is required and has a responsibility to understand what the laws are pertaining to them so lack of knowledge of the law is, unfortunately not an excuse,” said Lyle.
The focus of the meeting then became about how to educate people on the village ordinances.
Essex told those in attendance that in a recent meeting with Muskingum University President Susan S. Hasseler, Vice President for Institutional Advancement/Student Affairs Janet Heeter-Bass, and New Concord Village Administrator Charlotte Colley a possible advisory board was discussed as an option to “educate everybody of where the ordinance can be found” and so that those impacted (everyone within the village) by ordinances are aware.
Essex said an element of the advisory board would emphasize that both long term New Concord residents and university students are all living in the same community.
“We all live in the same village together,” said Essex.
Talk of common ground for both sides was put on the back burner when council member Bil Kerrigan told the concerned students that the “village isn’t here to provide you with a place to party in.”
Village Council also expressed there were village residents who in the past and currently that are unhappy with the noise and litter produced by college students living in their neighborhoods.
“As a resident of the village and a council person in the last two years I’ve had people complain to me all the time,” said Kerrigan. “People are fed up. Homeowners are wanting to sell their house because they can’t put up with it anymore.”
According to Kerrigan the village is in support of these ordinances.
“There is a lot of frustration so if there is more enforcement it’s because there is a great deal of frustration among people who have lived here their whole lives and the community is asking for more enforcement,” said Kerrigan.
Despot said he was concerned with the sudden enforcement of the law and felt that his past few years at Muskingum the ordinance wasn’t as enforced as it has been this semester.
Meehan said he felt they were missing the college perspective with the ordinance while council member Erin Stevic said college was about more than going to parties.
“Yes, college is for partying sometimes, but it is also learning how to live within a community and respecting the bounds and the laws of that community,” said Stevic.
Essex said the next step in this is to work with the university to create the advisory board and collect data to evaluate the “sudden enforcement” of the ordinance.
All New Concord ordinances and council meeting minutes can be found on the village’s website, newconcord-oh.gov.
WMCO airs council meetings Sundays at noon and Orbit TV airs the meetings at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday- Sunday. The next Village Council meeting is March 13 at 7:30 in the Village Hall Basement.